Climate change and the displaced person: how vectors and climate are changing the landscape of infectious diseases among displaced and migrant populations

Int J Dermatol. 2023 Mar 13. doi: 10.1111/ijd.16636. Online ahead of print.


Background: As the climate crisis grows, so does the global burden of displacement. Displacement, whether a direct or indirect consequence of natural disaster, can lead to dire health sequelae. Skin health is no exception to this, with dermatologic disease being a leading concern reported by those who care for displaced persons. Health professionals who provide dermatologic care for displaced persons benefit from understanding how climate change impacts the global profile of infectious agents.

Methods: This review was performed using PubMed and Google Scholar. Search terms included climate change, displaced person, internally displaced person, and refugee, as well as searches of infectious disease dermatology and the specific diseases of interest. Case reports, case series, reviews, and original research articles were included in this review. Non-English studies were not included.

Results: In this manuscript several key infectious agents were identified, and we discuss the skin manifestations and impact of climate change on cutaneous leishmaniasis, dengue, chikungunya, zika, malaria, pediculosis, cutaneous larva migrans, cholera, and varicella zoster.

Conclusions: Climate change plays a significant role in the challenges faced by displaced persons, including their skin health. Among the many consequences of climate change is its altering of the ecological profile of infectious agents and vectors that impact displaced persons. Being familiar with this impact can improve dermatologic care for this vulnerable population.

Publication types

  • Case Reports