, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 189-203
Date: 23 Jun 2013

Impact of global change on transmission of human infectious diseases


Global change, which refers to large-scale changes in the earth system and human society, has been changing the outbreak and transmission mode of many infectious diseases. Climate change affects infectious diseases directly and indirectly. Meteorological factors including temperature, precipitation, humidity and radiation influence infectious disease by modulating pathogen, host and transmission pathways. Meteorological disasters such as droughts and floods directly impact the outbreak and transmission of infectious diseases. Climate change indirectly impacts infectious diseases by altering the ecological system, including its underlying surface and vegetation distribution. In addition, anthropogenic activities are a driving force for climate change and an indirect forcing of infectious disease transmission. International travel and rural-urban migration are a root cause of infectious disease transmission. Rapid urbanization along with poor infrastructure and high disease risk in the rural-urban fringe has been changing the pattern of disease outbreaks and mortality. Land use changes, such as agricultural expansion and deforestation, have already changed the transmission of infectious disease. Accelerated air, road and rail transportation development may not only increase the transmission speed of outbreaks, but also enlarge the scope of transmission area. In addition, more frequent trade and other economic activities will also increase the potential risks of disease outbreaks and facilitate the spread of infectious diseases.