Higher Global Temperatures May Mean More Disease Outbreaks
The health impacts of climate change are here
As global temperatures have risen in recent decades, so have the number of outbreaks of infectious diseases. SARS, MERS, Zika, West Nile, COVID-19 and now clusters of monkeypox and polio have all recently threatened public health.
That's no coincidence. In a study published in August in Nature Climate Change, researchers tried to understand the relationship between major environmental changes related to higher greenhouse gas emissions—including global warming, rising sea levels, storms, floods, drought and heat waves—and the outbreaks of 375 human infectious diseases caused by viruses, bacteria and other pathogens. They found that 58 percent of these public-health threats were fueled by climate change.
“The health impacts of climate change are here,” said Dr. Vishnu Laalitha Surapaneni, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota. “And they are affecting us right here, right now.”
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