For the first time ever, ECDC intends to celebrate Earth Day. The Earth is under unprecedented strain and ECDC wishes to emphasize that a healthy Earth is the ultimate determinant of good public health.
Recent trends, especially as related to global climate change, are concerning. The latest evidence suggests that the worst-case IPCC (Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change) scenario trajectories are being realised. Such climatic changes could, directly and indirectly, substantially affect public health. ECDC, as an Agency specifically focused on communicable disease control in Europe, notes that a wide range of studies suggest that the distribution of communicable diseases may be altered as a consequence of global climate change.
Thus ECDC celebrates Earth day in recognition of the dependence that all of us have on the Earth for our health and well being.
Current ECDC projects related to climate change
Several projects are underway at ECDC to explore this important topic, such as a comprehensive risk assessment on the potential impacts of climate change on the distribution of food- and water-borne diseases in the EU. ECDC is also working with leading IPCC scientists to develop an adaptation tool-kit for use by EU Member States. Further, the European Environment and Epidemiology Network (E3) proposes to link climatic/environmental and infectious disease data in order to strengthen European capacity in forecasting, monitoring and responding to the threats posed by new and emerging diseases.
- The impact on public health from climate change is potentially far-reaching. Warmer summers and increased heavy rainfall events might create favourable conditions for some communicable diseases to spread more widely.
- Assessing vulnerabilities and developing adaptation strategies are key tactics for confronting climate change.
- The European capacity to analyse and respond to changing infectious disease patterns due to climate change would be enhanced by connecting data on environmental and epidemiologic data.
Climate Change Team
Created in 2007, the team is composed of Jan Semenza (coordinator, right) and Jonathan Suk, two dedicated scientists from the Scientific Advice Unit at ECDC.
The team collaborates with major actors in the field of climate change, including institutes from the Member States, the European Commission, WHO/EURO and the European Environment Agency.
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