, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 67-72

Assessment of Associations Between Climate and Infectious Diseases: A Comparison of the Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the National Research Council (NRC), and United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP)

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Abstract

This comparative review of three assessment reports, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, (IPCC), The National Research Council (NRC), and United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), respectively is presented in response to comments in the press suggesting that the three reports varied substantially in their assessments of associations between global climate and infectious disease in humans. Comparisons of the assessment teams, approach, reports' findings, views on predictive modeling, recommendations to policymakers and future research are presented. All teams were interdisciplinary, two international, one US-based. Although their approaches differed somewhat, all addressed the role of climate change, El NiƱo and climate variability, and ultimately, human health, especially infectious disease. The panels agreed that a paucity of long-term data and complexity of relationships among factors affecting climate variability and change and human health rendered projections of current predictive models inadequate as the basis for policy decisions. Each team suggested further study of associations among climate variability/climate change and human infectious disease and downscaled models to project regional and subregional outcomes. Each added additional areas for investigation, e.g., mathematical modeling, effects of socioeconomic factors, emergence of zoonotic disease in humans, transmission dynamics of disease agents. Rather than disagreements, there were differences in emphasis on known components and on hypothesized additional contributing factors and relationships among climate and human infectious disease variables.

This revised version was published online in July 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.