Emerging Pathogens

    Adaptation of mammalian host-pathogen interactions in a changing arctic environment

    K. Hueffer et al. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica (2011) 53:17. In high northern latitudes, the annual cycles of interacting pathogen and host biology are regulated in part by highly synchronized temperature and photoperiod changes during seasonal transitions (e.g., freezeup and breakup). With a warming climate, only one of these key biological cues will undergo drastic changes, while the other will remain fixed. This uncoupling can theoretically have drastic consequences on host-pathogen interactions.

    Animal migration and infectious disease risk

    S. Altizer et al. Science (2011) 331(6015):296-302. Studies of pathogen dynamics in migratory species and how these will respond to global change are urgently needed to predict future disease risks for wildlife and humans alike.

    Arctic parasitology: Why should we care?

    R. Davidson et al. Trends in Parasitology (2011) 27(6):239-245. The low ecological diversity that characterizes the Arctic imparts vulnerability. In addition, parasitic invasions and altered transmission of endemic parasites are evident and anticipated to continue under current climate changes, manifesting as pathogen range expansion, host switching, and/or disease emergence or reduction. However, Arctic ecosystems can provide useful models for understanding climate-induced shifts in host-parasite ecology in other regions.

    Changing planet, changing health: How the climate crisis threatens our health and what we can do about it

    P.R. Epstein, D. Ferber, University of California Press, 2011, 368 pages. Written by a physician and world expert on climate and health and an award-winning science journalist, the book reveals the surprising links between global warming and cholera, malaria, lyme disease, asthma, and other health threats.

    Climate change and human health

    P.R. Epstein, MD, MPH. New England Journal of Medicine (2005) 353(14):1433-1436. In the past three decades, widening social inequities and changes in biodiversity—which alter the balance among predators, competitors, and prey that help keep pests and pathogens in check—have apparently contributed to the resurgence of infectious diseases.

    Climate change and infectious disease

    B.C. Fries, J. Mayer. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases (2009) doi:10.1155/2009/976403. This is an editorial introducing a special issue of Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases. (PDF, 7.45 MB)

    Climate change and infectious disease: Stormy weather ahead?

    P.R. Epstein. Epidemiology (2002) 13(4):373-375. Extreme weather events are becoming more intense and are likely to become more frequent as the world climate changes. For epidemiologists, one important aspect of these trends is their impact on infectious disease. (PDF, 48.9 KB)

    Climate change and infectious diseases

    Chapter 14 of The Social Ecology of Infectious Diseases, K.H. Mayer, H.F. Pizer (eds.), Academic Press, 2008.

    Climate change and the geographic distribution of infectious diseases

    J. Rosenthal. EcoHealth (2009) 6(4):489-495. Our ability to predict the effects of climate change on the spread of infectious diseases is in its infancy. Numerous, and in some cases conflicting, predictions have been developed, principally based on models of biological processes or mapping of current and historical disease statistics. (PDF, 159.5 KB)

    Climate change influences infectious diseases both in the Arctic and the tropics: Joining the dots

    B. Evengård, R. Sauerborn. Global Health Action (2009) DOI: 10.3402/gha.v2i0.2106. Despite obvious differences in environmental and socio-economic contexts, there are commonalities between these areas, both in the mechanisms through which climate change influences disease transmission and in the adaptation responses health systems can and should mount. (PDF, 218.04 KB)

    Climate change promotes the emergence of serious disease outbreaks of filarioid nematodes

    S. Laaksonen et al. EcoHealth (2010) 7(1):7-13. Coincidental with decades of warming, and anomalies of high temperature and humidity in the sub-Arctic region of Fennoscandia, the mosquito-borne filarioid nematode Setaria tundra is now associated with emerging epidemic disease resulting in substantial morbidity and mortality for reindeer and moose. Authors describe a hostparasite system that involves reindeer, arthropods, and nematodes, which may contribute as a factor to ongoing declines documented for this ungulate species across northern ecosystems. (PDF, 287.2 KB)

    Climate change, its impact on human health in the Arctic and the public health response to threats of emerging infectious diseases

    A.J. Parkinson, B. Evengård. Global Health Action (2009) DOI: 10.3402/gha.v2i0.2075. Resident indigenous populations of the Arctic are uniquely vulnerable to climate change because of their close relationship with, and dependence on, the land, sea, and natural resources for their well-being. (PDF, 63.3 KB)

    Climate change, parasites and shifting boundaries

    L. Polley et al. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica (2010) 52(Suppl 1):S1. The primary aim of this paper is to provide a framework for thinking about the critical potential connections between climate change, parasites, people, and wildlife in the circumpolar North, and between these host groups, climate change, parasites and domestic animals in other areas of the world.

    Climate change, vector-borne disease and interdisciplinary research: Social science perspectives on an environment and health controversy

    B.W. Brisbois, S.H Ali. EcoHealth (2010) 7(4):425-438. The authors hope this article triggers a discussion on self-reflexive and politically aware environment and health research and policy, with recognition of global health inequity, its roots in international political economy, and the role that researchers play, or could play, in confronting these challenges.

    Climate variability, global change, immunity, and the dynamics of infectious diseases

    A. Dobson. Ecology (2009) 90(4):920-927. This is a comment on an article from a previous issue of Ecology.

    Consequent effects of parasitism on population dynamics, food webs, and human health under climate change

    H. Doi, N.I. Yurlova. Ambio (2011) 40(3):332-334. The effects of global warming on assemblages of hosts, parasites, and pathogens can be numerical, functional, or micro-evolutionary, and can involve cascading changes in ecosystems. Here, the authors summarize and discuss the importance of parasitism to host-parasite population dynamics, food-web structure, and human health under future climate change.

    Disease appearance and evolution against a background of climate change and reduced resources

    S. Yacoub et al. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A (2011) 369(1942):1719-1729. Global health continues to face increasing challenges owing to a variety of reasons that include the almost constant changes in disease appearance and evolution. Most, but not all, of these changes affect low-income countries and are influenced by climate change.

    Disease emergence from global climate and land use change

    J.A. Patz et al. Medical Clinics of North America (2008) 92(6):1473-1491. Climate change and land use change can affect multiple infectious diseases of humans, acting either independently or synergistically. Clinicians must develop stronger ties, not only to public health officials and scientists but also to earth and environmental scientists and policy makers.

    Ecology drives the worldwide distribution of human diseases

    V. Guernier et al. PLoS Biology (2004) 2(6):doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0020141. The authors conclude that climatic factors are of primary importance in explaining the link between latitude and the spatial pattern of human pathogens.

    Effects of climate change on tularaemia disease activity in Sweden

    P. Rydén et al. Global Health Action (2009) DOI: 10.3402/gha.v2i0.2063. Tularaemia is a vector-borne infectious disease. A large majority of cases transmitted to humans by bloodfeeding arthropods occur during the summer season and is linked to increased temperatures. Therefore, the effect of climate change is likely to have an effect on tularaemia transmission patterns in highly endemic areas of Sweden. (PDF, 158 KB)

    Effects of environmental change on emerging parasitic diseases

    J.A. Patz et al. International Journal for Parasitology (2000) 30(12-13):1395-1405. The combined effects of environmentally detrimental changes in local land use and alterations in global climate disrupt the natural ecosystem and can increase the risk of transmission of parasitic diseases to the human population.

    Frontiers in climate change – disease research

    J.R. Rohr et al. Trends in Ecology & Evolution (2011) 26(6):270-277. The notion that climate change will generally increase human and wildlife diseases has garnered considerable public attention, but remains controversial and seems inconsistent with the expectation that climate change will also cause parasite extinctions. In this review, the authors highlight the frontiers in climate change–infectious disease research by reviewing knowledge gaps that make this controversy difficult to resolve.

    Global climate change and emerging infectious diseases

    J.A. Patz et al. JAMA (1996) 275(3):217-223. Climatic factors influence the emergence and reemergence of infectious diseases, in addition to multiple human, biological, and ecological determinants. Analyzing the role of climate in the emergence of human infectious diseases will require interdisciplinary cooperation among physicians, climatologists, biologists, and social scientists.

    Global climate change and infectious diseases

    E.K. Shuman, MD. New England Journal of Medicine (2010) 362(12):1061-1063. Climate change will have enormous implications for human health, especially for the burden of vectorborne and waterborne infectious diseases.

    Global warming and the emergence of ancient pathogens in Canada's Arctic regions

    J.O. Oyugi et al. Medical Hypotheses (2007) 68(3):709. Canada has vast regions of Arctic territory, with approximately 2% of the country covered with glaciers and ice fields, and as such may have potential for the emergence of deadly ancient pathogens from release of microbes from melting arctic ice.

    Global wildlife being monitored for disease threats to humans: New system tracks emerging infections

    D. Currie. The Nation's Health (2011) 41(3):1-10. Funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development's Emerging Pandemic Threats program were used to create HealthMap.org/predict as well as to support disease surveillance in more than 20 countries and local media surveillance.

    How will global climate change affect parasite-host assemblages?

    D.R. Brooks, E.P. Hoberg. Trends in Parasitology (2007) 23(12):571-574. Global climate change produces ecological perturbations, which cause geographical and phenological shifts, and alteration in the dynamics of parasite transmission, increasing the potential for host switching.

    Immunology, climate change and vector-borne diseases

    J.A. Patz, W.K. Reisen. Trends in Immunology (2001) 22(4):171-172. Global climate change might expand the distribution of vector-borne pathogens in both time and space, thereby exposing host populations to longer transmission seasons, and immunologically naive populations to newly introduced pathogens.

    Increasing insect reactions in Alaska: Is this related to changing climate?

    J.G. Demain et al. Allergy and Asthma Proceedings (2009) 30(3):238-243. Authors conducted a retrospective review of three independent patient databases in Alaska to identify trends of patients seeking medical care for adverse reactions after insect-related events. Increases in insect reactions in Alaska have occurred after increases in annual and winter temperatures, and these findings may be causally related.

    Infectious disease: Inextricable linkages between human and ecosystem health

    D.W. Macdonald, M.K. Laurenson. Biological Conservation (2006) 131(2):143-150. There was a time when the control of wildlife diseases was the domain of veterinarians while conservation was that of biologists. That false dichotomy has long since passed as infectious disease has become a central issue in biological conservation, which itself has become enmeshed in an interdisciplinary web that embraces the health of ecosystems and people.

    Infectious diseases, climate influences, and nonstationarity

    B. Cazelles, S. Hales. PLoS Medicine (2006) 3(8):doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030328. Complex dynamic relationships between humans, pathogens, and the environment lead to the emergence of new diseases and the re-emergence of old ones. Due to concern about the impact of increasing global climate variability and change, many recent studies have focused on relationships between infectious disease and climate.

    Integrated approaches and empirical models for investigation of parasitic diseases in northern wildlife

    E.P. Hoberg et al. Emerging Infectious Diseases (2008) 14(1):10-17. Integrative approaches serve as cornerstones for detection, prediction, and potential mitigation of emerging infectious diseases in wildlife and persons in the North and elsewhere under a changing global climate.

    Is global warming harmful to health?

    P.R. Epstein. Scientific American (2000) 283(2):50-57. Computer models predict that global warming will revise weather patterns and that the resulting droughts, heat waves, and floods will promote the emergence, resurgence, and spread of infectious diseases.

    Mild weather and rain increase the risk of Campylobacter in chickens

    ScienceDaily, February 8, 2011. Campylobacter is frequently the cause of diarrhea in humans in Norway and chicken meat is thought to be one of the sources of infection. A new doctoral thesis shows that heavy rain and average temperatures over 6° centigrade during the breeding period increase the risk of broilers becoming infected by Campylobacter bacteria.

    Milder winters in northern Scandinavia may contribute to larger outbreaks of haemorrhagic fever virus

    M. Evander, C. Ahlm. Global Health Action (2009) DOI: 10.3402/gha.v2i0.2020. The spread of zoonotic infectious diseases may increase due to climate factors such as temperature, humidity, and precipitation. This is also true for hantaviruses, which are globally spread haemorrhagic fever viruses carried by rodents. (PDF, 739 KB)

    Morbillivirus and toxoplasma exposure and association with hematological parameters for southern Beaufort Sea polar bears: Potential response to infectious agents in a sentinel species

    C.M. Kirk et al. EcoHealth (2010) 7(3):321-331. As food webs change and human activities respond to a milder Arctic, exposure of polar bears and other Arctic marine organisms to infectious agents may increase. Because of the polar bear's status as Arctic ecosystem sentinel, polar bear health could provide an index of changing pathogen occurrence throughout the Arctic.

    One Health Initiative

    The One Health concept is a worldwide strategy for expanding interdisciplinary collaborations and communications in all aspects of health care for humans, animals, and the environment.

    Parasite zoonoses and climate change: Molecular tools for tracking shifting boundaries

    L. Polley, R.C.A. Thompson. Trends in Parasitology (2009) 25(6):285-291. For human, domestic animal, and wildlife health, key effects of directional climate change include the risk of the altered occurrence of infectious diseases. Many parasite zoonoses have high potential for vulnerability to the new climate, in part because their free-living life-cycle stages and ectothermic hosts are directly exposed to climatic conditions. For these zoonoses, climate change can shift boundaries for ecosystem components and processes integral to parasite transmission and persistence.

    Potential influence of climate change on vector-borne and zoonotic diseases: A review and proposed research plan

    J.N. Mills et al. Environmental Health Perspectives (2010) 118(11):1507-1514. Because of complex interactions of climate variables at the levels of the pathogen, vector, and host, the potential influence of climate change on vector-borne and zoonotic diseases (VBZDs) is poorly understood and difficult to predict. Climate effects on the nonvector-borne zoonotic diseases are especially obscure and have received scant treatment. (PDF, 449 KB)

    Rising tide of illness: How global warming could increase the threat of waterborne diseases

    Fact sheet published by Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 2010. Global warming is projected to increase the risk of more frequent and more widespread outbreaks of waterborne illnesses due to higher temperatures and more severe weather events. (PDF 207.2 KB)

    Spread of disease linked to warming climate

    D. Fischer, The Daily Climate, July 27, 2010. CDC warns doctors to be on the alert after concluding a once-tropical disease is spreading in the Pacific Northwest.

    Thawing of permafrost may disturb historic cattle burial grounds in East Siberia

    B.A. Revich, M.A. Podolnaya. Global Health Action (2011) 4:DOI:10.3402/gha.v4i0.8482. Frequent outbreaks of anthrax caused the death of 1.5 million deer in the Russian North between 1897 and 1925. At present, it is not known whether current warming of permafrost will lead to the release of viable anthrax organisms. Nevertheless, it would be prudent to undertake careful monitoring of permafrost conditions in all areas where an anthrax outbreak has occurred in the past. (PDF, 1.81 MB)

    The ecology of climate change and infectious diseases

    K.D. Lafferty. Ecology (2009) 90(4):888-900. Latitudinal, altitudinal, seasonal, and interannual associations between climate and disease along with historical and experimental evidence suggest that climate, along with many other factors, can affect infectious diseases in a nonlinear fashion.

    The impact of climate change on the expansion of Ixodes persulcatus habitat and the incidence of tickborne encephalitis in the north of European Russia

    N. Tokarevich et al. Global Health Action (2011) 4:DOI:10.3402/gha.v4i0.8448. This study analyzes tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) incidence in Arkhangelsk Oblast (AO) and throughout Russia, the results of Ixodid ticks collecting in a number of sites in AO, and TBE virus prevalence in those ticks, the data on tick bite incidence in AO, and meteorological data on AO mean annual air temperatures and precipitations. (PDF, 1.01 MB)

    The International Polar Year, 2007-2008: An opportunity to focus on infectious diseases in Arctic regions

    A.J. Parkinson. Emerging Infectious Diseases (2008) 14(1):1-3. The changing climate is affecting Arctic communities. The most vulnerable are those living a traditional subsistence lifestyle. The melting permafrost, flooding, and storm surges are progressively destroying sanitation and drinking water infrastructures of many Arctic communities. In addition, climate change may drive increased dissemination of zoonotic pathogens in water- and food-borne pathways. (PDF, 98 KB)

    The medical detective

    A. Vowles. At Guelph (2007) 51(17). Veterinary epidemiologist Dr. Andria Jones is working with other researchers under a project funded by IPY 2007/08, hoping to learn how widespread zoonotic diseases are across Labrador, Nunavik, the Northwest Territories, and Yukon. She says that having a baseline will help in monitoring disease spread and will allow scientists to gauge the effects of climate change on dispersal patterns. (Archived version of webpage)

    The prevalence of <em>Toxoplasma gondii</em> in polar bears and their marine mammal prey: Evidence for a marine transmission pathway?

    S.K. Jensen et al. Polar Biology (2009) 33(5):599-606. Little is known about the prevalence of the parasite Toxoplasma gondii in the arctic marine food chain of Svalbard, Norway. In this study, plasma samples were analyzed for T. gondii antibodies using a direct agglutination test. A high recent prevalence in polar bears, ringed seals, and bearded seals could be caused by an increase in the number or survivorship of oocysts being transported via the North Atlantic Current to Svalbard from southern latitudes.

    Tides of trouble: Increased threats to human health and ecosystems from harmful algal blooms

    Fact sheet published by Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 2010. The proliferation of harmful algal blooms (HABs) is a matter of growing global environmental health concern. These dangerous blooms of tiny microalgae can produce potent toxins that can harm people, pets, and marine life, and contaminate aquatic food chains. (PDF, 925 KB)

    Uncertainties associated with quantifying climate change impacts on human health: A case study for diarrhea

    E.W. Kolstad, K.A Johansson. Environmental Health Perspectives (2011) 119(3):299-305. Climate change is expected to have large impacts on health at low latitudes where droughts and malnutrition, diarrhea, and malaria are projected to increase. The main objective of this study was to indicate a method to assess a range of plausible health impacts of climate change while handling uncertainties in an unambiguous manner. The authors illustrate this method by quantifying the impacts of projected regional warming on diarrhea in this century. (PDF, 1.01 MB)

    Under the weather: Climate, ecosystems, and infectious disease

    Report by Committee on Climate, Ecosystems, Infectious Diseases, and Human Health, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research Council, 2001. This book evaluates our current understanding of the linkages among climate, ecosystems, and infectious disease; it then outlines the research needed to improve our understanding of these linkages. The book also examines the potential for using climate forecasts and ecological observations to help predict infectious disease outbreaks, identifies the necessary components for an epidemic early warning system, and reviews lessons learned from the use of climate forecasts in other realms of human activity.

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