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Experts Examine Possible Links Between Climate Change and Infectious Disease Transmission
Date:11/20/2009

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An emerging body of evidence suggests that the changing global climate is already affecting infectious disease transmission patterns. As noted today in a symposium at the 58th annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), such changes are expected to have a profound impact on global public health.

"There is concrete evidence that the global climate is changing, and these changes are expected to greatly impact human health as surface temperatures rise, agricultural belts shift, and extreme weather events become more commonplace," observed Mary H. Hayden, Ph.D. of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, CO. "Although most scientists agree that climate change is underway, the role it plays in infectious disease transmission is still in contention. The evidence presented today suggests that climate change will exacerbate the challenges of controlling infectious diseases in the developing world."

The aim of the symposium, "Changing the Climate: A Data-Driven Discussion About Climate," was to address the use, utility, and limitations of weather and climate models toward a goal of providing data-driven evidence of the links between weather, climate, specific pathogens and ultimately, human health. The symposium included several evidence-based presentations by speakers from the US Centers Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Columbia University's International Research Institute on the established effects of climate variability/change on specific climate-sensitive diseases such as meningitis, malaria, plague and other vector-borne bacterial pathogens.

"Climate change is expected to impact global health through a variety of factors including greater heat stress, air pollution, respiratory disease exacerbation, and changes in the geographic distribution of vector-, food- and water-borne disease," commented
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SOURCE The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
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