Mon, 02 Oct 2023

BERLIN, June 1 (Xinhua) -- The effects of climate change are expected to increase the risk of infectious diseases in Germany, according to a report published by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on Thursday.

Rising temperatures allow harmful bacteria to multiply more easily and provide ideal conditions for mosquitoes and ticks to spread more widely and transmit infectious diseases to so far unaffected areas, according to the report, which is a collaboration of more than 90 authors from over 30 research institutions and authorities.

"The impact of anthropogenic environmental change on human health and well-being is increasing," the report said.

Public health systems worldwide need to "address this significant and complex burden by strengthening both their capacity to act and their resilience," it said.

Almost two-thirds of the infectious disease pathogens found in Europe are "climate sensitive," according to the report.

In Germany, the first occurrence of the West Nile virus (WNV), which is also transmitted by mosquitoes, was recorded in 2018, which then was the warmest year since weather records had begun.

However, this was surpassed last year, with an average temperature of 10.5 degrees Celsius, 2.3 degrees above the multi-year average for the reference period 1961-1990, according to the Germany's National Meteorological Service (DWD).

As surface temperatures in the North Sea and Baltic Sea are warming up, waterborne pathogens such as the bacterial genus Vibrio could also thrive, according to the RKI report. Vibrio infections mainly appear as wound infections and diarrheal diseases.

"In order to improve the protection of human health, the interrelationships between human and animal health and healthy ecosystems must therefore be considered more seriously in a wide range of policy areas," the report said.

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