In the past decade global change, mainly caused by climate change, and its effect on the society has been on the forefront of world news. Indeed, the issue has become a standard item on the agendas of political leaders, as it is feared that the economic costs caused by the predicted changes will be high, and mitigating measures consume scarce resources. Climate change is expected to impact heavily on human and animal health because of disturbance of ecological equilibriums and more favourable conditions for disease agents. Vector-borne diseases such as malaria, leishmaniasis and dengue will benefit particularly from the predicted changes by expansion of the geographic range of the vectors and accelerated development of the infectious parasites.
This book is the reflection of a workshop in which the potential impact of global change on malaria and other vector-borne diseases was discussed from different angles. The workshop brought together a series of leading scientists in the field of malaria and global change, to discuss the likelihood of changes in disease risk with respect to the scale of the predicted changes. Field research, laboratory studies and epidemiological modelling were presented and showed how combining theoretical modelling and field validations can be used to demonstrate the likely effects of global change on an infectious disease such as malaria. It was clear that environmental change, more than climate change, is the driving force behind the observed changes. The rapid spread of blue tongue, another highly infectious vector-borne disease, illustrates what might happen if the world looks on unguarded.
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