US Climate and Health Alliance

Climate change and human health: a One Health approach


Climate change adds complexity and uncertainty to human health issues such as emerging infectious diseases, food security, and national sustainability planning that intensify the importance of interdisciplinary and collaborative research. Collaboration between veterinary, medical, and public health professionals to understand the ecological interactions and reactions to flux in a system can facilitate clearer understanding of climate change impacts on environmental, animal, and human health. Here we present a brief introduction to climate science and projections for the next century and a review of current knowledge on the impacts of climate-driven environmental change on human health. We then turn to the links between ecological and evolutionary responses to climate change and health. The literature on climate impacts on biological systems is rich in both content and historical data, but the connections between these changes and human health is less understood. We discuss five mechanisms by which climate changes impacts on biological systems will be felt by the human population: Modifications in Vector, Reservoir, and Pathogen Lifecycles; Diseases of Domestic and Wild Animals and Plants; Disruption of Synchrony Between Interacting Species; Trophic Cascades; and Alteration or Destruction of Habitat. Each species responds to environmental changes differently, and in order to predict the movement of disease through ecosystems, we have to rely on expertise from the fields of veterinary, medical, and public health, and these health professionals must take into account the dynamic nature of ecosystems in a changing climate.

Resource Type
Peer-reviewed article
Jonathan A. Patz Micah B. Hahn
Resource URL
Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology
Journal Abbr.
Curr. Top. Microbiol. Immunol.
Short Title
Climate change and human health
Health and Human Impacts
Food security Infectious disease Vector-borne disease

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