Impact of Climate on Spread of Microbial Diseases

Infectious diseases such as Hiv/aids, malaria, dengue, pneumonia and hepatitis have been on the call for many years. Recently two main diseases such as corona and hantavirus are in the news. But have we ever wondered that why there is an outrange of these diseases altogether. Let’s consider one of the most important things that have been neglected for years and that is ——climate change.

With a very vast change in the climatic conditions, the transmission patterns of infectious disease have been changed dramatically. Air and water temperatures, precipitation patterns, extreme rainfall events, seasonal variations are all known to affect disease transmission, these factors are also combined with the impacts of rapid demographic, environmental, social, technological and other changes in our ways of living. The more these conditions move to extremes the more the risk of spread of disease like corona and hantavirus.

The rise in temperature especially in the arctic circle is leading to the melting of ice and permafrost. The acceleration of their melting is changing the monotony of the earth’s climate and is the prime factor for the emergence and re-emergence of microbial diseases. There have been evident scientific studies that many pathogens (bacterias, viruses and fungi) can still exist in an immobilized state for hundreds and thousands of years. So with the ice melting there is an increased risk for the spreading of some ancient microbial diseases for which the living generation might not be prepared for.

Another factor of discussion includes air pollution, polluted air is also a supreme factor for making any sort of microbial disease more intense and havoc for living beings. Air pollution includes the particulates of nitrates, sulfate and the dust of carbon. Breathing in the polluted air weakens our immune system and damages our respiratory system with the loss of functioning of our lungs. This is one of the main reasons for the spread of corona as being quoted by the preliminary researches happened at Harvard University (United States) and Martin Luther University (Halle-Wittenberg in Germany).

An overall impact of global warming is apparent in the form rise in temperatures of different regions of the world which is the foremost factor for the evolution and mutations in the pathogens spreading a vast variety of infectious diseases. John Hopkins University has published a studied related to climate change that clearly says that emergence of new heat-tolerant diseases can put in danger one of the main natural defense which is fever which in short is an ability of mammals through which they can fight infections by maintaining high body temperature.

Changes in the rainfall pattern have reduced the freshwater supplies and have led to an increase in trachoma-an eye infection and diarrhea. Some diarrheal diseases such as salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis, are common with higher temperatures, though patterns may differ by region and causative pathogen. Diarrheal diseases have also been found to occur more frequently in conjunction with both unusually high and low precipitation. The rise in sea levels due to irregular rainfall has also increased the risk of water-borne diseases like cholera. Flood water is also a home for breeding mosquitos. The extent of warm weather has increased the reproduction rate of the microbes spreading the diseases.

In short, climate change a key factor along with natural and man-made environmental stressors has increased the risk of microbial diseases. This risk is not just limited to the human race but many plant and animal species are also majorly affected. Climate change has become a great challenge for the survival of most of the species, with this there is an increased risk of respiratory, cardiovascular and other metabolic diseases. The recent pandemic is an eye-opener for all of us and has given us an opportunity to prioritize our commitments towards the termination of climate change. Many countries have to work together to fight against the prevailing of microbial diseases with climate change. New strategies for combating this change have to be made. And we as ONE has to stand against the impact of climate change as our survival is our stake. With our periodic actions, we can easily come over this change within years.

Hi, I am Shaista Khalid and I am doing MS in bio-sciences and I have written this article along with a few of my fellow classmates Nida, Atia and Eraje as a project being assigned in a course of climatology that we are taking right now. This article has been written taking in view the biggest challenge to combat that is climate change I hope our efforts would be given appreciation in the form of publishing it.

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