How climate change could impact the future of infectious diseases

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the deadliest virus outbreaks in modern history.
  • But researchers fear this pandemic could only be the beginning of a new battle against infectious disease outbreaks — the World Health Organization warns that climate change could make the spread of disease even worse in the coming decades.
  • Researchers worry that rising temperatures could cause animals to spread disease in more widespread areas, make pathogens more savvy at surviving in hot climates, and possibly weaken the human body’s immune response.
  • Though today’s novel coronavirus pandemic has not specifically been linked to climate change, here’s what could be in store for the future.
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Today’s novel coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the globe.

The pandemic has rapidly uprooted life as we know it and left countries across the world scrambling to contain the outbreaks. In just a few short months, billions of people have become jobless, ill, or had their lives significantly disrupted.

But this might not be the only infectious disease we’ll have to battle in our lifetimes.

According to research from the World Health Organization, and other institutions, the threat of climate change could make outbreaks even worse in the coming decades.

Researchers fear that as temperatures continue to rise, infectious-disease carrying animals could adapt to more widespread climates, pathogens could become stronger at surviving in hotter temperatures, and the human immune system could face greater difficulty in battling illness.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has not been linked to climate change, here’s how rising global temperatures could lead to an increase in future infectious diseases.

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