Climate change and waterborne and vector-borne disease

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This paper considers the potential impact on human health from waterborne and vector‐borne infections. It concentrates on the impact of two possible changes to climate; increased frequency of heavy rainfall events, with associated flooding and increased temperature. Flooding is associated with increased risk of infection in developing nations but not in the West unless water sources are compromised. There have been numerous reported of outbreaks that followed flooding that led to contamination of underground sources of drinking water. Heavy rainfall also leads to deterioration in the quality of surface waters that could adversely affect the health of those engaged in recreational water contact. It is also concluded that there may be an increase in the number of cyanobacterial blooms because of a combination of increased nutrient concentrations and water temperature. It is considered unlikely that climate change will lead to an increase in disease linked to mains drinking water, although private supplies would be at risk from increased heavy rainfall events. Although increased temperature could lead to climatic conditions favourable to increases in certain vector‐borne diseases such as malaria, the infrastructure in the UK would prevent the indigenous spread of malaria.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37–46
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue numberSupplement s1
Publication statusPublished - May 2003

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