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Over half of known human pathogenic diseases can be aggravated by climate change

Mora, C., McKenzie, T., Gaw, I.M. et al. Over half of known human pathogenic diseases can be aggravated by climate change. Nat. Clim. Chang. (2022). – “It is relatively well accepted that climate change can affect human pathogenic diseases; however, the full extent of this risk remains poorly quantified. Here we carried out a systematic search for empirical examples about the impacts of ten climatic hazards sensitive to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on each known human pathogenic disease. We found that 58% (that is, 218 out of 375) of infectious diseases confronted by humanity worldwide have been at some point aggravated by climatic hazards; 16% were at times diminished. Empirical cases revealed 1,006 unique pathways in which climatic hazards, via different transmission types, led to pathogenic diseases. The human pathogenic diseases and transmission pathways aggravated by climatic hazards are too numerous for comprehensive societal adaptations, highlighting the urgent need to work at the source of the problem: reducing GHG emissions.”

“The list of diseases used as search criteria came from the GIDEON database, which we complemented with the CDC National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System. The two databases have 375 disease names combined GIDEON claims to be a compilation of infectious disease cases dating back to 1348 AD, although it claims to be particularly accurate of reported infectious disease cases worldwide after 1920. GIDEON was developed in consultation with the World Health Organization and has been operational for 25 years, compiling human disease cases through dedicated searches over a broad array of public and governmental data sources. Case examples of diseases affected by climatic hazards were stored in an online database, which included the excerpts as copied directly from the paper, the given hazard, transmission type and disease. We created an interactive webpage that allows anyone to visualize the numerous pathways of transmission and the underlying data.”

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