Implications of global change and climate variability for vector-borne diseases: generic approaches to impact assessments

Int J Parasitol. 1998 Jun;28(6):935-45. doi: 10.1016/s0020-7519(98)00056-3.


Global change is pervasive and occurring at a dramatic rate. It involves changes in land use, vegetation cover, species translocations and even the climate of the planet. The consequences for the biosphere are uncertain. Past research emphasis has been on the science of climate change as the major driver of policy. The present priority in the global-change community is to define the likely nature and extent of those impacts on biodiversity and the functioning of ecosystems. In addition, increasing consideration is now being given to adaptation measures. The way in which that is being initiated is to develop adaptation measures to respond to medium-term climate variability in the form of altered El Nino and similar cycles, and changes in the frequency of extreme events. Given the large number of stakeholders in agriculture, human health and environment, there is a need for great efficiencies if the scientific community is going to be able to respond in a meaningful way with foreseeable resources. The plethora of problems means that generic approaches are needed. The present situation, with parasitologists each doing their own thing in terms of developing and using software tools, is like the tower of Babel. Parasitologists need common tools and languages to facilitate communication and collaboration. Advances in computing, with object-oriented programming languages and seamless exchange of information between different packages and platforms, are providing some exciting opportunities to overcome these problems.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Biological
  • Animals
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Climate*
  • Disease Vectors*
  • Ecosystem*
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Parasitic Diseases / epidemiology
  • Parasitic Diseases / transmission*
  • Software
  • Travel