CLIMATE CHANGE AND HEALTH: FACTS, SOCIETY AND POLITICS

The impact of global warming on pandemic risk on disease emergence, and the socio-political preparedness and responses.

Jean Paul GONZALEZ

CEEZAD (Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases)
Manhattan, USA

As far as the medical sciences are concerned in public health history, Hippocrates in its “Treaty of Airs, Waters and Places” is one of the prime example, multiple environmental factors, in particular those related to climate and seasons, have been recognized for a major role played on population health. Today, many communicable diseases appear as climate-dependent for those who study them, as well as those who undergo them, as for example: Malaria, vector-borne diseases, and seasonality; seasonal flu; meningoencephalitis and drought; cholera and water temperature; Hantavirus and cereal harvest season, etc. Moreover, even if this may be secondary, several chronic and degenerative diseases are also clearly identified to be under the influence of climatic factors as for example: Neurodegenerative diseases under the influence of heat stress, acute episodes of rheumatic diseases dependent on meteorology, moderate multiple sclerosis in warm-temperate Palearctic climate.

Moreover, in this third epidemiological transition where we are, which was intended to be that of the Age of Man-made and Degenerative Diseases, the transition profile is changing with the resurgence of infectious diseases that characterized the previous epidemiological transitions. Thus, past pests resurface (Rabies, Plague, Schistosomiasis), when others emerge (Legionella, Ebola fever, Lassa fever), all having a proven risk of dispersal under the influence of climate change, the constantly increasing trade, migration, human population densities and many other factors related to human behavior.

All of it, taken into account, when compared to the data produced by studies on the effects of Greenhouse Gas Emissions on health (atmospheric pollution, heat waves, vector population dynamics, environmental exposures and natural disasters), creates a scenario of infectious diseases resurgence as one of the main factors of morbidity and mortality in the World.

To study the impacts of climate change on health, our presentation will follow up a “One Health” approach (Eng: One Health) in which the human, animal and environmental components of Health interact on a spatial and temporal ways. After a brief review of these components, case studies of the emergence and/or resurgence of diseases, response to epidemics and pandemic risk by health systems and policies will be presented including among others: Pandemic Ebola fever and international response; Dengue hemorrhagic under climate influence; vector transmitted diseases of Sahel isohyets and drought; Australia between winds and tornadoes; Nipah Encephalitis, a brief history of emergence.

Although, these models vary in their components according to the latitudes, the industrialized or limited-income countries, the health policies and the threatened populations, the pandemic risk forces the preparedness and response to an extended virion of Health as a unique and global approach “(One Global Health). Some recent epidemic events, in their spatial dimensions (regional, pandemic), provide the necessary and useful foundations for this approach in the context of climate change, extreme climatic events and their impact on Health.