US Climate and Health Alliance

Climate change and animal diseases: making the case for adaptation


The exponential expansion of the human population has led to overexploitation of resources and overproduction of items that have caused a series of potentially devastating effects, including ocean acidification, ozone depletion, biodiversity loss, the spread of invasive flora and fauna and climatic changes – along with the emergence of new diseases in animals and humans. Climate change occurs as a result of imbalances between incoming and outgoing radiation in the atmosphere. This process generates heat. As concentrations of atmospheric gases reach record levels, global temperatures are expected to increase significantly. The hydrologic cycle will be altered, since warmer air can retain more moisture than cooler air. This means that some geographic areas will have more rainfall, whereas others have more drought and severe weather. The potential consequences of significant and permanent climatic changes are altered patterns of diseases in animal and human populations, including the emergence of new disease syndromes and changes in the prevalence of existing diseases. A wider geographic distribution of known vectors and the recruitment of new strains to the vector pool could result in infections spreading to more and potentially new species of hosts. If these predictions turn out to be accurate, there will be a need for policymakers to consider alternatives, such as adaptation. This review explores the linkages between climate change and animal diseases, and examines interrelated issues that arise from altered biological dynamics. Its aim is to consider various risks and vulnerabilities and to make the case for policies favoring adaptation.

Resource Type
Peer-reviewed article
Sigfrido Burgos Cáceres
Resource URL
Animal Health Research Reviews / Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases
Journal Abbr.
Anim Health Res Rev
Dec 2012
Short Title
Climate change and animal diseases
Organization Type
Health and Human Impacts
Infectious disease Vector-borne disease

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