Giving Compass' Take:
- Zoya Teirstein highlights findings from the Fifth National Climate Assessment, showing how climate change is impacting the spread of diseases throughout the U.S.
- What role can you play in helping to protect public health in light of the challenges exacerbated by climate change?
- Read about how climate change is driving a surge in dengue fever cases.
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This week, the United States government and leading climate researchers from institutions across the country released the Fifth National Climate Assessment, a report that takes stock of the ways in which climate change affects quality of life in the U.S. The assessment breaks down these impacts geographically — into 10 distinct regions encompassing all of the country’s states, territories, and tribal lands — and forecasts how global warming will influence these regions in the future.
In the previous installment of the report, released in 2018, the government warned that rising temperatures, extreme weather events, drought, and flooding threatened to unleash a surge of fungal pathogens, toxic algal blooms, mosquito- and tick-borne illnesses, and other climate-linked diseases. The new report, published on Tuesday, demonstrates that this prediction is unfolding right on schedule.
“Health risks from a changing climate,” the report says, include “increases in the geographic range of some infectious diseases.” West Nile virus, dengue fever, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, rabies, and Valley fever, carried by mosquitoes, ticks, mammals, and soil, are among the infectious diseases the report has identified as “climate sensitive.” Climate change isn’t the only reason more people are being affected by these illnesses — urban sprawl, deforestation, cyclical environmental changes, and other influences are also at play — but it’s a clear contributing factor.
Here are a few of the diseases that the Fifth National Climate Assessment warns are spreading into new parts of the country as a changing climate sends their carriers creeping into different areas.
Read the full article about ‘climate-sensitive’ diseases by Zoya Teirstein at Grist.