The link between climate change and infectious diseases
“ In 2070, human population centers in equatorial Africa, south China, India, and southeast Asia will overlap with projected hotspots of cross-species viral transmission in wildlife.”
A direct link between climate change and infectious diseases can be explained by one notion: the one health concept.
As a reminder, the one health concept is a concept that stand for the interconnection of human – animal and environment health. Dysregulating one aspect can have an impact on others. In this specific case, the three notions of health are interconnected. As a consequence of climate change, scientists predict that wild animals will be forced to relocate their habitats and will most likely be closer to human population or to farmed animals.
Because of this proximity, farmed animals are getting closer to the risk of contamination from new pathogens ( virus, bacteria, fungi ). This is one of the many examples of the potential risk of a new pandemic due to climate change.
In their paper1, the team of Georgetown University described the phenomenon of climate change and viral transmission. But it is simple to extrapolate the mechanisms of emergence of a new pandemic to bacterial infections. As farmed animal are treated with a high number of antimicrobials to maintain a risk of bacterial infection as low as possible, we can already observe the emergence of resistance.
Colin Carlson’s team claim that the risk is directly link to climate change thanks to one data: up to 10,000 virus species have the capacity to infect humans, but most of them are presently silenced due to the low proximity between human and wild animals. In their projection, wild animals with encounter other mammals in their journey to find new habitats in areas where they weren’t present at all. During this cross meeting the projection of the team is that theses animals will share thousands of viruses.
We can then imagine the possible impact on human as we have seen in history.
“This mechanism adds yet another layer to how climate change will threaten human and animal health,” says the study’s co-lead author Gregory Albery
This is a perfect example of why Vibiosphen is implicated in the one health movement to understand – predict and prevent future complications of viral – bacterial and fungal infections.
1“Climate change increases cross-species viral transmission risk” DOI 10.1038/s41586-022-04788-w