Climate change is one of the greatest threats to human health in the 21st century. Climate directly impacts health through climatic extremes, air quality, sea-level rise, and multifaceted influences on food production systems and water resources. Climate also affects infectious diseases, which have played a significant role in human history, impacting the rise and fall of civilizations and facilitating the conquest of new territories. Our review highlights significant regional changes in vector and pathogen distribution reported in temperate, peri-Arctic, Arctic, and tropical highland regions during recent decades, changes that have been anticipated by scientists worldwide. Further future changes are likely if we fail to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Many key factors affect the spread and severity of human diseases, including mobility of people, animals, and goods; control measures in place; availability of effective drugs; quality of public health services; human behavior; and political stability and conflicts. With drug and insecticide resistance on the rise, significant funding and research efforts must to be maintained to continue the battle against existing and emerging diseases, particularly those that are vector borne.
Keywords: climate change; emerging disease; public health; vector-borne disease; water-borne disease.
© 2018 The Authors. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of New York Academy of Sciences.