WASHINGTON, USA – A study found that climate disasters such as floods, heat waves and droughts have made more than half of hundreds of infectious diseases including malaria, hantavirus, cholera and anthrax worse, the newspaper reported New York Post yesterday.
The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, examined the medical evidence for various diseases.
It found that 218 of the 375 infectious diseases known to humans, or 58 percent, were made worse by one of 10 types of extreme weather due to climate change.
The study also mapped 1,006 pathways of how climate disasters can bring disease to humans. In some cases, heavy rains and floods trigger diseases carried by mosquitoes, rats and deer to humans.
In addition, warming oceans and heat waves contaminate marine resources and various other foods, while droughts bring bats that spread viral infections to humans.
“If the climate changes, the risk of contracting an infectious disease also changes,” said co-author of the study, Dr. Jonathan Patz.
Through the same study, the research team also looked at all types of human-related diseases including non-communicable diseases such as asthma, allergies and animal bites to see how many diseases are linked to climate change.
They found a total of 286 unique diseases and 223 of them have worsened due to climate disasters.
The study’s chief author, Camilo Mora, said his team also investigated medical cases related to Covid-19 to see how the epidemic is related to climate disasters.
As a result, they found that there are a number of cases where extreme weather aggravates and at the same time, reduces the risk of contracting Covid-19.
For example, in some cases, heat waves in poor neighborhoods caused people to gather to cool off, making them more vulnerable to Covid-19 infection.
In other situations, heavy rains reduce the spread of Covid-19 because people stay at home.