Infectious Diseases

The ranges and impacts of a number of important pathogens may change as a result of changing temperatures, precipitation, and extreme events. Increasing temperatures may increase or shift the ranges of disease vectors (and their associated pathogens), including mosquitoes (malaria, dengue fever, West Nile virus, Saint Louis encephalitis virus), ticks (Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, and encephalitis), and rodents (hantavirus and leptospirosis). Consequently, additional people will be exposed to infectious diseases in many parts of the world. Several pathogens that cause food-and waterborne diseases are sensitive to ambient temperature, with faster replication rates at higher temperatures. Waterborne disease outbreaks are also associated with heavy rainfall and flooding and, therefore, may also increase.

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