Potential impacts of climate change on infectious diseases in the Arctic

Int J Circumpolar Health. 2005 Dec;64(5):478-86. doi: 10.3402/ijch.v64i5.18029.


Climate change could cause changes in the incidence of infectious diseases in Arctic regions. Higher ambient temperatures in the Arctic may result in an increase in some temperature sensitive foodborne diseases such as gastroenteritis, paralytic shellfish poisoning and botulism. An increase in mean temperature may also influence the incidence of infectious diseases of animals that are spread to humans (zoonoses) by changing the population and range of animal hosts and insect vectors. An increase in flooding events may result in outbreaks of waterborne infection, such as Giardia lamblia or Cryptospordium parvum. A change in rodent and fox populations may result in an increase in rabies or echinococcosis. Temperature and humidity influence the distribution and density of many arthropod vectors which in turn may influence the incidence and northern range of vectorborne diseases such as West Nile virus. Recommendations include: the strenghtening of public health systems, disease surveillance coordinated with climate monitoring, and research into the detection, prevention, control and treatment of temperature-sensitive infectious diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arctic Regions / epidemiology
  • Climate*
  • Food Microbiology
  • Humans
  • Infections / epidemiology*
  • Infections / microbiology*
  • Infections / transmission
  • Insect Vectors
  • Public Health Administration
  • Sentinel Surveillance
  • Water Microbiology
  • Weather
  • Zoonoses / epidemiology
  • Zoonoses / microbiology