Online Program

Climate change & infectious diseases in India: Implications for human health, healthcare providers & institutions

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 3:30 p.m. - 3:50 p.m.

V. Ramana Dhara, MD, ScD, MPH, Occupational Health Clinics, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Background,: Climate change has the potential for influencing the earth's biological systems and its impact on human health is still emerging. This presentation reviews examples of two diseases in the Indian sub-continent, malaria and cholera. Methods: Development of predictive models for infectious disease is vital for the identification of susceptible populations, implementation of early warning systems, and provision of health care services. Results: The multifactorial nature of malaria causation does not permit a simple model of disease prediction. To determine the role of climate change in malaria transmission, research efforts incorporating a disease surveillance system that combine trend analyses from multiple sites to account for local factors are required. The discovery of V. cholera's existence in the natural environment changed the understanding that this disease had only a human reservoir. A relationship has been observed between increases in sea-surface temperature and the onset of cholera epidemics, with outbreaks following the seasonal rise and fall in sea-surface height and temperatures. Conclusions: This article reviews common prevalent infectious diseases in India, their links to climate change, and how health-care providers and institutions can participate in the mitigation of climate change. Examples of these include physicians discussing lifestyle changes like diet and exercise to combat chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. Institutions can pursue energy and water conservation, energy efficient construction, recycling and purchasing recycled materials, collecting and recycling anesthetic gases, reducing waste, and local waste disposal. An example of a Mumbai hospital's efforts in energy reduction is presented.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Environmental health sciences
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health biology
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Describe infectious diseases prevalent in the Indian sub-continent impacted by climate change. Discuss the multi-factorial nature of disease causation with reference to malaria, dengue, and chikungunya. Identify strategies by which health care providers and institutions can mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have formulated the concept of this presentation, performed the literature search, developed the background information, and discussed the content and conclusions for this topic. I collaborate with the Climate Change & Health Group a the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and have participated in their Indo-US workshop on climate change and health. I guide student theses at the Emory Univ. School of Public Health on global environmental health issues.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.