Europe is unprepared for a possible wave of climate-related epidemics

Last year, only 71 locally transmitted cases of dengue fever were reported in Europe. But this calm could be deceptive. Experts warn that Europe is unprepared for a possible wave of tropical disease infections. The European Environment Agency (EEA) warns that awareness of such health risks posed by climate change is only slowly emerging.

These “infectious diseases have epidemic potential,” Jan Semenza told Table.Media. Until recently, Semenza worked at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in Stockholm and has researched the connection between climate change and infectious diseases for decades. In the event of an outbreak, the number of cases could explode at a rapid rate. “Obviously, we are not doing enough in Europe to prevent this, as the COVID pandemic has shown,” Semenza adds.
Yet several aspects of climate change cause infectious diseases to spread faster, Vanuytrecht from the EAA told Table.Media. The main factors are:
Increased temperatures cause pathogens to become more active and spread to new regions.
Increased humidity can help bacteria spread faster.
Floods offer breeding grounds for the spread of diseases.

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“Climate change alone is not responsible for more diseases, but rather the interplay of various aspects,” says expert Vanuytrecht. Social factors and behavioral patterns, such as hygiene and travel behavior, also play a role.

  • Kevin

    35 w

    They need better preparation techniques

    • Sarah Chabane

      35 w

      This is not too surprising but pretty worrying to get it confirmed by experts...

      • mercy nduta

        35 w

        They need not just be prepared but to work smart to prevent future climate-related epidemics.

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