Infectious Diseases, Climate Change Effects on

  • Matthew BaylisEmail author
  • Claire Risley


Infectious diseases of humans continue to present a significant burden to our health, disproportionately so in the developing world. Infectious diseases of livestock affect their health and welfare, are themselves important causes of human disease and, exceptionally, can threaten our food security. Wildlife infections again present a zoonotic risk to humans, but additionally, such diseases may threaten vulnerable populations and be a cause of extinction and biodiversity loss. Wild populations are inherently more susceptible to environmental change, largely lacking any human protective influence that domesticated species and human populations may benefit from.


Climate Change Malaria Transmission Avian Influenza Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Rift Valley Fever 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The weather averaged over a long time or, succinctly, climate is what you expect, weather is what you get!

El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)

A climate phenomenon whereby, following reversal of trade winds approximately every 4–7 years, a vast body of warm water moves slowly west to east across the Pacific, resulting in “an El Niño” event in the Americas and leading to a detectable change to climate (mostly disruption of normal rainfall patterns) across 70% of the earth’s surface.

Emerging disease

An infection or disease that has recently increased in incidence (the number of cases), severity (how bad the disease is), or distribution (where it occurs).

Endemic stability

The counter-intuitive situation where the amount of disease rises as the amount of infection falls, such that controlling infection can exacerbate the problem.


The body of a host having been invaded by microorganisms (mostly viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and parasites).

Infectious disease

A pathology or disease that results from infection. Note that many diseases are not infectious and not all infections result in disease.

Intermediate host

A host in which a parasite undergoes an essential part of its lifecycle before passing to a second host, and where this passing is passive, that is, not by direct introduction into the next host (see vector).


Usually, an arthropod that spreads an infectious pathogen by directly introducing it into a host. For diseases of humans and animals, the most important vectors are flies (like mosquitoes, midges, sandflies, tsetse flies), fleas, lice, and ticks. Aphids are important vectors of diseases in plants. In some instances, other means of carriage of pathogens, such as human hands, car wheels, etc., are referred to as vectors.

Vector competence

The proportion of an arthropod vector population that can be infected with a pathogen.


An infection of animals that can spread to, and cause disease in, humans (plural, zoonoses).


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Books and Reviews

  1. International Panel on Climate Change (2007) Climate change 2007: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LUCINDA Group, Institute of Infection and Global HealthUniversity of LiverpoolNestonUK

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