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Study: “Over half of known human pathogenic diseases can be aggravated by climate change”

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South Beach, Miami Florida. By Averette – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4589902

Essay by Eric Worrall

According to this study, warm weather is bad for us, because it either encourages people to stay indoors, or encourages enjoyment of water sports.

Analysis
Published: 

Over half of known human pathogenic diseases can be aggravated by climate change

Camilo MoraTristan McKenzieIsabella M. GawJacqueline M. DeanHannah von HammersteinTabatha A. KnudsonRenee O. SetterCharlotte Z. SmithKira M. WebsterJonathan A. Patz & Erik C. Franklin 

Abstract

It is relatively well accepted that climate change can affect human pathogenic diseases; however, the full extent of this risk remains poorly quantified. Here we carried out a systematic search for empirical examples about the impacts of ten climatic hazards sensitive to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on each known human pathogenic disease. We found that 58% (that is, 218 out of 375) of infectious diseases confronted by humanity worldwide have been at some point aggravated by climatic hazards; 16% were at times diminished. Empirical cases revealed 1,006 unique pathways in which climatic hazards, via different transmission types, led to pathogenic diseases. The human pathogenic diseases and transmission pathways aggravated by climatic hazards are too numerous for comprehensive societal adaptations, highlighting the urgent need to work at the source of the problem: reducing GHG emissions.

Read more: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-022-01426-1

One of the risk factors identified in the study is the risk warm weather could encourage more water sports.

Climatic hazards bringing people closer to pathogens

Climatic hazards also facilitated the contact between people and pathogens by moving people closer to pathogens. Heatwaves, for instance, by increasing recreational water-related activities, have been associated with rising cases of several waterborne diseases such as Vibrio-associated infections47, primary amoebic meningoencephalitis48 and gastroenteritis49.

Read more: Same link as above

Of course staying indoors on hot days, instead of going for a swim, can also kill you.

… Higher temperatures have been associated with increased COVID-19 cases in some instances67, and although a mechanism was not outlined, it is possible that extreme heat forces people indoors, which can increase the risk of virus transmission, especially when combined with poor or reduced ventilation; …

Read more: Same link as above

Frankly I don’t think such studies are credible. Reading this study is like watching first year medical student hypochondriacs self-diagnose all their rare diseases.

Studies which predict extreme disease risks in a warmer world fail to explain the benign environment of places which are already warm. If warmer weather was such a disease risk factor, Florida and Singapore would be unsurvivable disease ridden nightmares, instead of being the pleasant holiday destinations or places to live which they are.

Warmer weather might help ticks and mosquitoes to survive milder winters, but warmer weather also helps animals which prey on ticks and mosquitoes to survive.

Having said that, Mosquitoes don’t need any help to survive in cold weather. During the depths of the Little Ice Ageone of the biggest killers in Northern Europe was Malaria. Of course, hundreds of years ago, the disease wasn’t called Malaria, our ancestors called it Ague. Ague was such a problem in the 16th century, William Shakespeare’s plays referred to Ague at least 14 times.

How did our ancestors finally control Malaria? The same way we will be able to fix any problems which occur if the world continues warming, they figured out solutions to their problems. Our ancestors drained the worst swamps, and discovered cheap and readily available mosquito control chemicals such as light mineral oil and castor oil, which floats in a thin film on top of water and kills mosquito larvae.

Our ancestors adapted and prospered, just like we will.

via Watts Up With That?

August 9, 2022

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