Climate change and the spread of infectious diseases

Dominik Mertz

Dominik Mertz, MD, MSc, is an associate professor of medicine and director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at McMaster University.

What is the impact of ongoing climate changes on the spread of infectious diseases? Are these phenomena relevant to countries in temperate climate zones?

I’m thinking first and foremost of vector-based diseases when we think about climate change. If the vectors can move more towards the north in particular because of climate change, then this will bring the disease with it. One example being dengue virus.

Another example that we are currently facing is monkeypox, [where] due to climate change, deforestation—at least that’s one of the theories as to why we see more monkeypox activity also locally, where it is endemic, because it changes how we interact and how close we are with some of the hosts, which in this case are probably predominantly rodents.

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