01 Jun 2023, 14:20
Julian Wettengel

Germany must prepare for spread of new infectious diseases due to climate change – report

Clean Energy Wire

New and increasing infectious diseases are among the many negative consequences of climate change in Germany, shows the first part of a new report coordinated by the country’s disease control authority Robert Koch Institute (RKI). “Notwithstanding the increase in life expectancy [in Germany], the effects of global climate change are increasingly becoming an important risk factor for health,” says the German Status Report on Climate Change and Health. Climatic conditions favour, among other things, the outbreak of diseases such as chikungunya, dengue, and West Nile fever in Europe, says the report, adding that Germany should expect a further shift of certain tick species to higher latitudes and altitudes, and a further geographical spread of mosquito and sandfly species the coming years. “We need to focus more on the issue of climate-sensitive infectious agents,” said RKI’s Klaus Stark, co-author of the report. “It concerns every citizen, it concerns the medical profession, but it also concerns responsible authorities and institutes in particular, which can take appropriate measures.”

The report, which follows on a similar publication from 2010, is put together by more than 30 federal agencies and research institutions and released in several parts. The first part, which was now realsed, focusses on the impact of climate change on infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance. The following two parts will be released later in 2023. In reports over recent years, researchers have shown that negative effects of climate change on citizens' health are growing in Germany. Due to man-made climate change, the average temperature rise, and extreme weather events such as heat waves become more frequent and severe.

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