Climate change, foodborne pathogens, and illness in higher income countries

Iain Lake, Gary Barker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)
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Purpose of review:
We present a review of the likely consequences of climate change for foodborne pathogens and associated human illness in higher income countries.
Recent findings:
The relationships between climate and food are complex and hence the impacts of climate change uncertain. This makes it difficult to know which foodborne pathogens will be most affected, what the specific effects will be, and on what timescales changes might occur. Hence, a focus upon current capacity and adaptation potential against foodborne pathogens is essential. We highlight a number of developments that may enhance preparedness for climate change. These include:
• Adoption of novel surveillance methods, such as syndromic methods, to speed up detection and increase the fidelity of intervention in foodborne outbreaks
• Genotype based approaches to surveillance of food pathogens to enhance spatio-temporal resolution in tracing and tracking of illness
• Ever increasing integration of plant, animal and human surveillance systems, one-health, to maximize potential for identifying threats
• Increased commitment to cross-border (global) information initiatives (including big data)
• Improved clarity regarding the governance of complex societal issues such as the conflict between food safety and food waste
• Strong user centric (social) communications strategies to engage diverse stakeholder groups
The impact of climate change upon foodborne pathogens and associated illness is uncertain. This emphasises the need to enhance current capacity and adaptation potential against foodborne illness. A range of developments are explored in this paper to enhance preparedness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187–196
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Environmental Health Reports
Issue number1
Early online date14 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

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