Special Issue "Climate Changes and Infectious Diseases Risks"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Climate Change".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Prisco Piscitelli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Euro Mediterranean Scientific Biomedical Institute (ISBEM), Via Reali di Bulgaria, Mesagne (Brindisi), Italy
Interests: epidemiology; preventive medicine; occupational medicine; environmental medicine; global health; air pollution; indoor pollution; radon; infectious diseases
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Alessandro Miani
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of Milan, via Celoria 10, 20133 Milano, Italy
Interests: urban resilience; primary prevention; indoor pollution; radon; planetary health; sustainability
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Climate-sensitive infectious diseases are increasingly threatening both vulnerable and resilient human populations as the climate changes. Whether under a scenario of long-term changes in average rainfall, temperature, or storm intensity, or in a future of increased extremes, sustained climate events, or abrupt baseline shifts, the impacts of these diseases on human populations will manifest in different ways than at present.

In this Special Issue, we will present a set of papers exploring these links, potential future outcomes, and assessing infectious disease risks due to climate change. Studies aimed at understanding current links between infectious diseases and climate, and those describing and applying frameworks to explore future change, are valuable tools in public health management, and in anticipating future needs. This includes studies of climate-sensitive infectious disease dynamics that employ empirical lab and field work and theoretical modeling approaches. Interventions on climate-sensitive health risks are also of interest, particularly rigorous cost-effectiveness, program, and process evaluations. We also welcome studies on infectious diseases that consider the interactions between climate and nonclimate drivers (e.g., social vulnerability, immune status, vector control), and studies that consider the secondary effects of climate on infectious disease dynamics, such as disease outbreaks following natural disasters as a result of population displacement, crowding, and stress.

Dr. Prisco Piscitelli
Prof. Dr. Alessandro Miani
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Perceptions, Vulnerability and Adaptation Strategies for Mitigating Climate Change Effects among Small Livestock Herders in Punjab, Pakistan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(20), 10771; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph182010771 - 14 Oct 2021
Viewed by 336
Abstract
Pakistan is an agrarian nation that is among the most vulnerable countries to climatic variations. Around 20% of its GDP is produced by agriculture, and livestock-related production contributes more than half of this value. However, few empirical studies have been conducted to determine [...] Read more.
Pakistan is an agrarian nation that is among the most vulnerable countries to climatic variations. Around 20% of its GDP is produced by agriculture, and livestock-related production contributes more than half of this value. However, few empirical studies have been conducted to determine the vulnerability and knowledge of livestock herders, and particularly the smaller herders. Comprehending individual perceptions of and vulnerabilities to climate change (CC) will enable effective formulation of CC mitigation strategies. This study intended to explore individual perceptions of and vulnerabilities to CC based on a primary dataset of 405 small livestock herders from three agro-ecological zones of Punjab. The results showed that livestock herders’ perceptions about temperature and rainfall variations/patterns coincide with the meteorological information of the study locations. The vulnerability indicators show that Dera Ghazi Khan district is more vulnerable than the other two zones because of high exposure and sensitivity to CC, and lower adaptive capacity. However, all zones experience regular livelihood risks due to livestock diseases and deaths resulting from extreme climatic conditions, lower economic status, and constrained institutional and human resource capabilities, thus leading to increased vulnerability. The results indicate that low-cost local approaches are needed, such as provision of improved veterinary services, increased availability of basic equipment, small-scale infrastructure projects, and reinforcement of informal social safety nets. These measures would support cost-effective and sustainable decisions to enable subsistence livestock herders to adopt climate smart practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Changes and Infectious Diseases Risks)
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Article
Climate Precursors of Satellite Water Marker Index for Spring Cholera Outbreak in Northern Bay of Bengal Coastal Regions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(19), 10201; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph181910201 - 28 Sep 2021
Viewed by 370
Abstract
Cholera is a water-borne infectious disease that affects 1.3 to 4 million people, with 21,000 to 143,000 reported fatalities each year worldwide. Outbreaks are devastating to affected communities and their prospects for development. The key to support preparedness and public health response is [...] Read more.
Cholera is a water-borne infectious disease that affects 1.3 to 4 million people, with 21,000 to 143,000 reported fatalities each year worldwide. Outbreaks are devastating to affected communities and their prospects for development. The key to support preparedness and public health response is the ability to forecast cholera outbreaks with sufficient lead time. How Vibrio cholerae survives in the environment outside a human host is an important route of disease transmission. Thus, identifying the environmental and climate drivers of these pathogens is highly desirable. Here, we elucidate for the first time a mechanistic link between climate variability and cholera (Satellite Water Marker; SWM) index in the Bengal Delta, which allows us to predict cholera outbreaks up to two seasons earlier. High values of the SWM index in fall were associated with above-normal summer monsoon rainfalls over northern India. In turn, these correlated with the La Niña climate pattern that was traced back to the summer monsoon and previous spring seasons. We present a new multi-linear regression model that can explain 50% of the SWM variability over the Bengal Delta based on the relationship with climatic indices of the El Niño Southern Oscillation, Indian Ocean Dipole, and summer monsoon rainfall during the decades 1997–2016. Interestingly, we further found that these relationships were non-stationary over the multi-decadal period 1948–2018. These results bear novel implications for developing outbreak-risk forecasts, demonstrating a crucial need to account for multi-decadal variations in climate interactions and underscoring to better understand how the south Asian summer monsoon responds to climate variability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Changes and Infectious Diseases Risks)
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Article
Modeling the Potential Future Distribution of Anthrax Outbreaks under Multiple Climate Change Scenarios for Kenya
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 4176; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18084176 - 15 Apr 2021
Viewed by 1016
Abstract
The climate is changing, and such changes are projected to cause global increase in the prevalence and geographic ranges of infectious diseases such as anthrax. There is limited knowledge in the tropics with regards to expected impacts of climate change on anthrax outbreaks. [...] Read more.
The climate is changing, and such changes are projected to cause global increase in the prevalence and geographic ranges of infectious diseases such as anthrax. There is limited knowledge in the tropics with regards to expected impacts of climate change on anthrax outbreaks. We determined the future distribution of anthrax in Kenya with representative concentration pathways (RCP) 4.5 and 8.5 for year 2055. Ecological niche modelling (ENM) of boosted regression trees (BRT) was applied in predicting the potential geographic distribution of anthrax for current and future climatic conditions. The models were fitted with presence-only anthrax occurrences (n = 178) from historical archives (2011–2017), sporadic outbreak surveys (2017–2018), and active surveillance (2019–2020). The selected environmental variables in order of importance included rainfall of wettest month, mean precipitation (February, October, December, July), annual temperature range, temperature seasonality, length of longest dry season, potential evapotranspiration and slope. We found a general anthrax risk areal expansion i.e., current, 36,131 km2, RCP 4.5, 40,012 km2, and RCP 8.5, 39,835 km2. The distribution exhibited a northward shift from current to future. This prediction of the potential anthrax distribution under changing climates can inform anticipatory measures to mitigate future anthrax risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Changes and Infectious Diseases Risks)
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Article
Spatial and Temporal Characteristics of Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease and Its Response to Climate Factors in the Ili River Valley Region of China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1954; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18041954 - 17 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1305
Abstract
Background: As the global climate changes, the number of cases of hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD) is increasing year by year. This study comprehensively considers the association of time and space by analyzing the temporal and spatial distribution changes of HFMD in the Ili River [...] Read more.
Background: As the global climate changes, the number of cases of hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD) is increasing year by year. This study comprehensively considers the association of time and space by analyzing the temporal and spatial distribution changes of HFMD in the Ili River Valley in terms of what climate factors could affect HFMD and in what way. Methods: HFMD cases were obtained from the National Public Health Science Data Center from 2013 to 2018. Monthly climate data, including average temperature (MAT), average relative humidity (MARH), average wind speed (MAWS), cumulative precipitation (MCP), and average air pressure (MAAP), were obtained from the National Meteorological Information Center. The temporal and spatial distribution characteristics of HFMD from 2013 to 2018 were obtained using kernel density estimation (KDE) and spatiotemporal scan statistics. A regression model of the incidence of HFMD and climate factors was established based on a geographically and temporally weighted regression (GTWR) model and a generalized additive model (GAM). Results: The KDE results show that the highest density was from north to south of the central region, gradually spreading to the whole region throughout the study period. Spatiotemporal cluster analysis revealed that clusters were distributed along the Ili and Gongnaisi river basins. The fitted curves of MAT and MARH were an inverted V-shape from February to August, and the fitted curves of MAAP and MAWS showed a U-shaped change and negative correlation from February to May. Among the individual climate factors, MCP coefficient values varied the most while MAWS values varied less from place to place. There was a partial similarity in the spatial distribution of coefficients for MARH and MAT, as evidenced by a significant degree of fit performance in the whole region. MCP showed a significant positive correlation in the range of 15–35 mm, and MAAP showed a positive correlation in the range of 925–945 hPa. HFMD incidence increased with MAT in the range of 15–23 °C, and the effective value of MAWS was in the range of 1.3–1.7 m/s, which was positively correlated with incidences of HFMD. Conclusions: HFMD incidence and climate factors were found to be spatiotemporally associated, and climate factors are mostly non-linearly associated with HFMD incidence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Changes and Infectious Diseases Risks)
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Article
Effects of El Niño/La Niña on the Number of Imported Shigellosis Cases in the Republic of Korea, 2004–2017
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(1), 211; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18010211 - 30 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 872
Abstract
Shigellosis is a major diarrheal disease in low- and middle-income countries. Although the incidence of such diseases in South and Southeast Asia has been associated with climate fluctuations linked to the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the impact of ENSO on shigellosis infections remains [...] Read more.
Shigellosis is a major diarrheal disease in low- and middle-income countries. Although the incidence of such diseases in South and Southeast Asia has been associated with climate fluctuations linked to the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the impact of ENSO on shigellosis infections remains unknown. Data reported to being infected with shigellosis while traveling abroad from 2004 to 2017 were obtained from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We investigated the relationship between the Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) and Indian Ocean Dipole Mode Index and the relative risk of shigellosis in outbound travelers using distributed lag linear and non-linear models. From 2004 to 2017, 87.1% of imported shigellosis was infected in South and Southeast Asian countries. The relative risk of imported shigellosis infection in outbound travelers increased as the ONI decreased. In the association with the five-month cumulative ONI, the relative risk of infection continuously increased as the La Niña index gained strength. Climate fluctuations associated with the La Niña phenomenon in South and Southeast Asian countries can lead to issues in sanitation and water safety. Our findings suggest that the decreasing trend in the ONI is associated with an increased incidence of shigellosis in these countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Changes and Infectious Diseases Risks)
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Review

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Review
A Systematic Review of the Effects of Temperature on Anopheles Mosquito Development and Survival: Implications for Malaria Control in a Future Warmer Climate
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(14), 7255; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18147255 - 07 Jul 2021
Viewed by 873
Abstract
The rearing temperature of the immature stages can have a significant impact on the life-history traits and the ability of adult mosquitoes to transmit diseases. This review assessed published evidence of the effects of temperature on the immature stages, life-history traits, insecticide susceptibility, [...] Read more.
The rearing temperature of the immature stages can have a significant impact on the life-history traits and the ability of adult mosquitoes to transmit diseases. This review assessed published evidence of the effects of temperature on the immature stages, life-history traits, insecticide susceptibility, and expression of enzymes in the adult Anopheles mosquito. Original articles published through 31 March 2021 were systematically retrieved from Scopus, Google Scholar, Science Direct, PubMed, ProQuest, and Web of Science databases. After applying eligibility criteria, 29 studies were included. The review revealed that immature stages of An. arabiensis were more tolerant (in terms of survival) to a higher temperature than An. funestus and An. quadriannulatus. Higher temperatures resulted in smaller larval sizes and decreased hatching and pupation time. The development rate and survival of An. stephensi was significantly reduced at a higher temperature than a lower temperature. Increasing temperatures decreased the longevity, body size, length of the gonotrophic cycle, and fecundity of Anopheles mosquitoes. Higher rearing temperatures increased pyrethroid resistance in adults of the An. arabiensis SENN DDT strain, and increased pyrethroid tolerance in the An. arabiensis SENN strain. Increasing temperature also significantly increased Nitric Oxide Synthase (NOS) expression and decreased insecticide toxicity. Both extreme low and high temperatures affect Anopheles mosquito development and survival. Climate change could have diverse effects on Anopheles mosquitoes. The sensitivities of Anopeheles mosquitoes to temperature differ from species to species, even among the same complex. Notwithstanding, there seem to be limited studies on the effects of temperature on adult life-history traits of Anopheles mosquitoes, and more studies are needed to clarify this relationship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Changes and Infectious Diseases Risks)
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