Climate change and health: global to local influences on disease risk

Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 2006 Jul-Sep;100(5-6):535-49. doi: 10.1179/136485906X97426.


The World Health Organization has concluded that the climatic changes that have occurred since the mid 1970s could already be causing annually over 150,000 deaths and five million disability-adjusted life-years (DALY), mainly in developing countries. The less developed countries are, ironically, those least responsible for causing global warming. Many health outcomes and diseases are sensitive to climate, including: heat-related mortality or morbidity; air pollution-related illnesses; infectious diseases, particularly those transmitted, indirectly, via water or by insect or rodent vectors; and refugee health issues linked to forced population migration. Yet, changing landscapes can significantly affect local weather more acutely than long-term climate change. Land-cover change can influence micro-climatic conditions, including temperature, evapo-transpiration and surface run-off, that are key determinants in the emergence of many infectious diseases. To improve risk assessment and risk management of these synergistic processes (climate and land-use change), more collaborative efforts in research, training and policy-decision support, across the fields of health, environment, sociology and economics, are required.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Communicable Diseases / epidemiology
  • Communicable Diseases / transmission
  • Developing Countries
  • Disasters / statistics & numerical data
  • Global Health*
  • Greenhouse Effect*
  • Humans
  • Risk Assessment