Climate Change And Rise of Diseases

In the last few decades human life expectancy  has increased considerably increased across the globe

especially developed and developing countries ,but due to recent rapid changes in climate and weather conditions, global warming, deforestation, increase of population, urbanization, poor sanitation hygiene, clinical trials, drug resistance led to the rise of transmission of infections. Adding to this lack of preparedness, infrastructure, lack of funds ,delay in implementation has caused havoc

Global warming is the most debatable topic in last 2 decades .

Global warming is a direct example of the broader term called ‘climate change’ and it refers to the observed increase in the average temperature of the air near earth’s surface and oceans in recent decades. This has led to extremes in weather and water cycles are displaced in time and space. One can see this now in heavy rains in Maharashtra for the last several days where Mumbai is drowning and cities like Bengaluru struggling to maintain water for its residents.

Country like ours are more prone to this adverse effect as we don’t have enough resources and infrastructure to be resilient to these changes.  Scientific studies have shown that the global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide which are the most important Green House Gases, have increased markedly as a result of human activities since 1750 and now far exceed pre industrial values.

Predictions of floods for India are coming true as glaciers melt. Floods create conducive environments for numerous health consequences resulting from disease transmission. For example ,if flood waters become contaminated with humanand animal waste, the rate of faecal -oral disease transmission can  increase many folds ,leading to rise of diarrhoeal disease and other bacterial and viral illness to flourish.

Diarrhoeal disease, cholera, dysentry and typhoid is of specific concern. Flooding can also contribute

to increased vector and rodent borne and other infectious diseases. For example collections of stagnant water provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes, potentially aiding in the spread of malaria and Dengue.

Public health effects of cyclones/drought/floods include diseases and illnesses associated with the loss of clean water, hygiene and sanitation ,loss of shelter and belongings, population displacement, toxic exposure ,hunger and malnutrition risk due to food scarcity.

Unsafe water

Safe water is most essential for maintaining good health ,as  temperature increases bacterial survival time and proliferation  too and thus increase in water born disease  become more frequent including cholera , Giardiasis, salmonellosis and cryptosporidiosis.

Cholera is a most common and well known water borne diarrhoeal disease since ancient times.

A relationship has been observed between increase in sea surface temperature and the onset of cholera epidemics.


About 400-500 million cases of malaria and more than 1 million related deaths occur globally each year. Changes in temperature, rainfall. humidity and immunity levels also affect malaria transmission. Malaria is one of the most serious and complex public health problems.In India malaria distribution is expected to expand to higher latitudes .

Several factors have caused the global resurgence of malaria, including the emergence of insecticide and drug resistance, human population growth and movement, land-use change, and deteriorating infrastructure. Deforestation, vegetation clearance, and irrigation can form open pools preferred

by malaria vectors and thus increase transmission. Rainfall alone accounts to 45 % malaria transmission.

Other Vector borne and zoonotic diseases

The arbovirus diseases chikungunya and dengue may also be influenced by climate,as both are transmitted by the common vector Aedes aegypti. Parasitic diseases such as leishmaniosis, lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis are tick-borne diseases.

Every season has its effects on our general health considering the fact that some disorders are seasonal. In winters while some people are perfectly comfortable with the cold and look forward to winter, but many have trouble adjusting to the shorter days, damp and lower temperatures. Adding to that flus, colds, sore throats, allergic rhinitis, asthma, sinusitis, and it can be truly be a winter of discontent.

In monsoon cold and cough ,tummy upsets, fungal infections, allergies etc.., are most common.

In summer a host of sun related ailments are encountered ,the health of the skin is influenced by humidity, temperature and the intensity of the sunlight. some of the common skin ailments experienced in summer are prickly heat, acne, photodermatitis and sunburns.

Figure 8.1. Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health.


As the seasons are displaced so are the diseases associated with them and we are not prepared for it. Authorities need to work fast to understand how rapid climate change in recent few years has alarmingly increased the transmission of infections, predict epidemics and work towards preparedness for such. We have to learn from these studies and need to work for the better application of knowledge in the future to protect the deterioration of health standards for human race.Awareness programmes should be undertaken as this is not going to reduce soon.

Dr Suresh G is a senior homeopathic doctor in Bengaluru


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