, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 713–725 | Cite as

Climate Change in the North American Arctic: A One Health Perspective

  • Joseph P. DudleyEmail author
  • Eric P. Hoberg
  • Emily J. Jenkins
  • Alan J. Parkinson


Climate change is expected to increase the prevalence of acute and chronic diseases among human and animal populations within the Arctic and subarctic latitudes of North America. Warmer temperatures are expected to increase disease risks from food-borne pathogens, water-borne diseases, and vector-borne zoonoses in human and animal populations of Arctic landscapes. Existing high levels of mercury and persistent organic pollutant chemicals circulating within terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in Arctic latitudes are a major concern for the reproductive health of humans and other mammals, and climate warming will accelerate the mobilization and biological amplification of toxic environmental contaminants. The adverse health impacts of Arctic warming will be especially important for wildlife populations and indigenous peoples dependent upon subsistence food resources from wild plants and animals. Additional research is needed to identify and monitor changes in the prevalence of zoonotic pathogens in humans, domestic dogs, and wildlife species of critical subsistence, cultural, and economic importance to Arctic peoples. The long-term effects of climate warming in the Arctic cannot be adequately predicted or mitigated without a comprehensive understanding of the interactive and synergistic effects between environmental contaminants and pathogens in the health of wildlife and human communities in Arctic ecosystems. The complexity and magnitude of the documented impacts of climate change on Arctic ecosystems, and the intimacy of connections between their human and wildlife communities, makes this region an appropriate area for development of One Health approaches to identify and mitigate the effects of climate warming at the community, ecosystem, and landscape scales.


climate change cultural resilience environmental pollutants indigenous peoples One Health parasites wildlife diseases zoonosis 



This article is a contribution of the Beringian Coevolution Project and the Integrated Inventories of Biomes of the Arctic, supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (DEB-Biodiversity, Discovery and Analysis Program-125810) to J. A. Cook (University of New Mexico), E. P. Hoberg (U.S. National Parasite Collection), K. E. Galbreath (Northern Michigan University), and E. Dechaine (Western Washington University). Emily Jenkins’ contribution was derived in part from research funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of any government agency or funding institution.


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Copyright information

© International Association for Ecology and Health 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph P. Dudley
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Eric P. Hoberg
    • 3
  • Emily J. Jenkins
    • 4
  • Alan J. Parkinson
    • 5
  1. 1.Leidos, Inc.GermantownUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Arctic BiologyUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA
  3. 3.US National Parasite CollectionU.S. Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research ServiceBeltsvilleUSA
  4. 4.Department of Veterinary MicrobiologyUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  5. 5.Arctic Investigations Program, Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious DiseasesCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAnchorageUSA

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