Climate change-related migration and infectious disease

Virulence. 2015;6(6):548-53. doi: 10.1080/21505594.2015.1021539. Epub 2015 Jul 7.


Anthropogenic climate change will have significant impacts on both human migration and population health, including infectious disease. It will amplify and alter migration pathways, and will contribute to the changing ecology and transmission dynamics of infectious disease. However there has been limited consideration of the intersections between migration and health in the context of a changing climate. This article argues that climate-change related migration - in conjunction with other drivers of migration - will contribute to changing profiles of infectious disease. It considers infectious disease risks for different climate-related migration pathways, including: forced displacement, slow-onset migration particularly to urban-poor areas, planned resettlement, and labor migration associated with climate change adaptation initiatives. Migration can reduce vulnerability to climate change, but it is critical to better understand and respond to health impacts - including infectious diseases - for migrant populations and host communities.

Keywords: climate change; displacement; health; infection; infectious disease; migration; mobility; population health; resettlement.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Climate Change*
  • Communicable Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Communicable Diseases / transmission*
  • Global Health*
  • Human Migration*
  • Humans