Food-borne disease and climate change in the United Kingdom

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Abstract

This review examined the likely impact of climate change upon food-borne disease in the UK using Campylobacter and Salmonella as example organisms. Campylobacter is an important food-borne disease and an increasing public health threat. There is a reasonable evidence base that the environment and weather play a role in its transmission to humans. However, uncertainty as to the precise mechanisms through which weather affects disease, make it difficult to assess the likely impact of climate change. There are strong positive associations between Salmonella cases and ambient temperature, and a clear understanding of the mechanisms behind this. However, because the incidence of Salmonella disease is declining in the UK, any climate change increases are likely to be small. For both Salmonella and Campylobacter the disease incidence is greatest in older adults and young children. There are many pathways through which climate change may affect food but only a few of these have been rigorously examined. This provides a high degree of uncertainty as to what the impacts of climate change will be. Food is highly controlled at the National and EU level. This provides the UK with resilience to climate change as well as potential to adapt to its consequences but it is unknown whether these are sufficient in the context of a changing climate.
Original languageEnglish
Article number117
JournalEnvironmental Health
Volume16
Issue numberSuppl1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2017

Keywords

  • Climate Change
  • Food-borne disease
  • adaptation
  • salmonella
  • campylobacter
  • gastrointestinal infections
  • global warming

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