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March 8 - 12, 2021


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Climate Change and Effects on Infectious Diseases

  • Session Number: S35-01
Wednesday, March 10, 2021: 1:30 PM - 2:05 PM


Jan Semenza
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control


The biosphere has experienced unprecedented and large-scale anthropogenic changes over the last century. Societal and environmental changes in economic development, land use, climate change, international travel and trade, commerce and health-care systems are all factors that can impact the (re-) emergence and dispersion of infectious diseases. An analysis of the underlying drivers of infectious disease threat events in Europe revealed globalization and environment as the most significant driver overall. However, drivers in this category did not act in isolation but interacted with other driver combinations. Thus, the interdependent nature of these drivers calls for a systems perspective in public health. Synergistic risk amplification of interrelated drivers can easily result in cascading threats to public health. Such cascading effects are a function of the magnitude of the existing vulnerabilities in society, rather than of the initial hazard. Thus, even a low-level hazard such as a rain event can generate an unexpected succession of failures that can have significant impact if there are widespread vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure and human populations. By monitoring climatic precursors of disease, it may be possible to accelerate both their detection and the public health response, in order to attenuate the human, environmental and economic costs of infectious disease threat events.


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Keywords: Please select up to 4 keywords ONLY:
Environmental - Air

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