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Thursday, October 21, 2021
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CLIMATE CHANGE AND VECTOR BORNE DISEASES

CLIMATE CHANGE AND VECTOR BORNE DISEASES

Dr John Grewar, State vet Epidemiology in the Western Cape, attended the 14th International Symposium for Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics (ISVEE) which took place in Mérida, Mexico from 2-7 November 2015.

The following extract is taken from THE WESTERN CAPE EPIDEMIOLOGY REPORT, VETERINARY SERVICES, November 2015, Volume 7 Issue 11, compiled by Dr John Grewar

 

One of the congress days revolved around climate change and the vast impact climate change has on the epidemiology of diseases. 

Increased temperatures cause an increase in number and an expansion in range of vectors and pathogens, while indirectly, land use and biodiversity are changed by the changing climatic conditions.

For instance, bluetongue virus replicates faster at higher temperatures, and vectors are more susceptible to infection at these increased temperatures. In the host, increases in environmental temperature cause a higher degree of physiological stress, decreasing immunity and therefore increasing the risk of disease. Additionally, a drying climate causes more farmers to switch to irrigating their crops, creating new habitats for vectors in previously unsuitable areas.

(The same principles would apply to African horse sickness.)

Veterinary professionals should therefore be aware of the effects of climate change in their areas and the previously unencountered diseases that may occur as a result.