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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 51

Tropical diseases and climate change

Department of Community Medicine, Smt. Kashibai Navale Medical College, Narhe, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication7-Apr-2014

Correspondence Address:
Harshal T Pandve
Department of Community Medicine, Smt. Kashibai Navale Medical College, Narhe, Pune - 411 041, Maharashtra
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DOI: 10.4103/1119-0388.130187

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How to cite this article:
Pandve HT. Tropical diseases and climate change. Trop J Med Res 2014;17:51

How to cite this URL:
Pandve HT. Tropical diseases and climate change. Trop J Med Res [serial online] 2014 [cited 2019 Sep 23];17:51. Available from: http://www.tjmrjournal.org/text.asp?2014/17/1/51/130187


Tropical diseases encompass all diseases that occur solely, or principally, in the tropics. In practice, the term is often taken to refer to infectious diseases that thrive in hot, humid conditions. [1] Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a group of parasitic and bacterial diseases that cause substantial illness for more than 1 billion people globally. Affecting the world's poorest people, NTDs impair physical and cognitive development, contribute to mother and child illness and death, make it difficult to farm or earn a living, and limit productivity in the workplace. As a result, NTDs trap the poor in a cycle of poverty and disease. Hundred percent of low-income countries are affected by at least five NTDs simultaneously. Worldwide, 149 countries and territories are affected by at least one NTD. NTDs kill an estimated 534,000 people worldwide every year. Individuals are often affected with more than one parasite or infection. Treatment cost for most NTD mass drug administration programs is estimated at less than US 50 cents per person, per year. [2] These close companions of poverty weaken impoverished populations, frustrate the achievement of health in the Millennium Development Goals, and impede global public health outcomes. [3]

Climate change has emerged as one of the most devastating environmental threats. Global climate change impacts on human and natural systems are predicted to be severe. Climate change is one of the most critical global challenges of our times. Recent events have emphatically demonstrated our growing vulnerability to climate change. More intense rainfall, rising temperatures, and climate-driven migration of human and animal populations due to repeated drought all affect the spread of tropical diseases. Map of tropical diseases like malaria, Chagas' disease, sleeping sickness, leishmaniasis, schistosomiasis, and dengue fever; is starting to change. [4] An area that has received particular attention is the potential impact of global warming on shifts in the spatiotemporal distribution of disease vectors, and hence the frequency and transmission dynamics of vector-borne diseases. Vectors, pathogens (parasites), and hosts survive and reproduce within certain optimal climatic conditions. Changes in climate will alter the transmission of vector-borne diseases in different ways, such as changing the survival and reproduction rate of the vector and of the pathogen (parasite). The potential impact of global warming and climate change on the transmission of the NTDs has received insufficient attention from researchers and different organization as global attention to infectious disease is primarily focused on human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), tuberculosis, and malaria. [5]

To conclude, the impact of climate change on NTDs is itself neglected. There is an urgent need for researchers and organizations to investigate further the potential impact of climate changes on the transmission of NTDs. The findings of such research are required so that populations might be able to overcome the increased risks. [5] Apart from that, the general population especially in tropical areas must be sensitized and made aware regarding health hazards of global warming and climate change. [6] Tropical diseases must get required amount of attention as well as action to control and prevent them in the era of climate change.

  References Top

1.Tropical diseases. Available from: http://www.who.int/topics/tropical_diseases/en/[Last accessed on 2014 Jan 19].  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/globalhealth/ntd/[Last accessed on 2014 Jan 19].  Back to cited text no. 2
3.First WHO report on neglected tropical diseases. Available from: http://www.who.int/neglected_diseases/2010report/en/index.html [Last accessed on 2014 Jan 19].  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Frayssinet F. Scientists Debate Climate Change Impacts on Tropical Diseases. Available from: http://www.ipsnews.net/2012/09/scientists-debate-climate-change-impacts-on-tropical-diseases [Last accessed on 2014 Jan 28].  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Bahauddin K. Climate change and neglected tropical diseases. Available from: http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=182722 [Last accessed on 2014 Jan 28].  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Pandve H. Global warming: Need to sensitize general population. Indian J Occup Environ Med 2007;11:86-7.  Back to cited text no. 6
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