Infectious Disease

INFECTIOUS DISEASES like malaria, schistosomiasis, dengue fever, and Zika virus are responsible for large burdens of disease globally and are highly sensitive to changes in environmental conditions, including temperature, soil moisture and precipitation patterns, deforestation, dams and irrigation projects, and others. It’s an urgent priority to better understand how land management practices alter the risk of these diseases in different settings and what types of interventions can reduce exposure to these diseases. Most emerging diseases globally are zoonotic diseases (with both human and animal hosts), and clearer understanding of anthropogenic influences on the emergence of zoonotic diseases (like HIV and Ebola) is another priority in Planetary Health research. Given the implications for food security and livelihoods, as well as for the state of global biodiversity, animal disease is also an important subtheme of disease ecology in the Planetary Health research context.

Learning Objectives
L1: Understand the environment-host-pathogen disease triangle and provide examples.
L2: Explain how environmental change can change the incidence, prevalence, geographical distribution, and/or severity of infectious diseases.
L3: Describe the criteria for an infectious disease hot spot and explain their characteristics with regard to environmental change.
L4: Recognize the interface between human and animal health in the contexts of environmental change and infectious diseases.
Teaching Resources
Planetary Health Workshop 
This workshop created by the Planetary Health Alliance introduces participants to planetary health and encourages them to brainstorm about possible solutions to urgent global challenges. Participants dive into the implications of environmental changes for one of three selected health impacts -- nutrition, infectious disease, and mental health.
→ Workshop folder

Climate Change and Health: An Interprofessional Response
This set of nine short slide decks that can be utilized to introduce the connection between climate change and health to health professionals. They are intended to be used by instructors and programs when teaching about the connection between climate and health in existing courses.
→ Slide deck

Planetary Health & Environmental Epidemiology
In this graduate level course, students will study the human health impacts of accelerating environmental change through interdisciplinary approaches including environmental science, political science, and public health.

Climate Change and Health
(L2, L3) Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health podcast shares an in-depth conversation about the effects of climate change and the steps we can take to reduce the damage.
→ The podcast
→ Teaching tool

Health Impact Assessment of Global Environmental Change
This undergraduate level course will provide students with tools to identify and address real-world global environmental and urban health issues. In addition to reading and discussing subject content to assist in understanding of the issues, students will learn skills to optimize the likelihood of affecting policy change through: 1) the Health Impact Assessment framework; 2) an introduction to environmental health modeling and spatial analysis; and 3) science communication skills. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Spring 2017.
Teaching tool

Ecosystem Approaches to Health Teaching Manual
A teaching manual with sample modules and associated activities for teaching about health and environmental change produced by COPEH-Canada.
→ Español 
→ Français 
→ English 
→ Read more

Climate Variability, Vulnerability, and Natural Disasters: A Study of Zika Virus in Manabi, Ecuador Following the 2016 Earthquake
This research article describes an emerging epidemic of Zika virus (ZIKV) in Ecuador following the 2016 earthquake, which coincided with an exceptionally strong El Niño event. Authors hypothesize that the trigger of a natural disaster during anomalous climate conditions and underlying social vulnerabilities were force multipliers contributing to a dramatic increase in ZIKV cases post-earthquake.
Read the Article

Climate Information for Public Health Action 
With a focus on infectious disease, hydro-meteorological disasters and nutrition, the book explores why, when and how data on the historical, current and future (from days to decades) climate can be incorporated into health decision-making.
→ E-Book

APHA Climate Change and Health Infographics
(L2) This set of 4 infographics provide a fact-based visual summary of the pathways by which climate change affects health, focusing on rising temperatures, extreme weather, air quality and vector-borne disease.
The Infographics

Climate Change Is Killing Us
(L2, L3) This NPR Article discusses the relationship between climate change and disease-carrying insects, in the lead up to the 2015 UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris, France.
Read more

Drought and War Heighten Threat of Not Just 1 Famine, but 4
(L2, L3, L4) In Somalia and other African countries suffering from drought and famines, lack of clean water and proper hygiene are behind massive outbreaks of communicable diseases in displaced-persons camps. Water sources that dry up in droughts cause an interlocking cycle of death more and more arrive at camps; clean water is much more important for food than survival.
Read more

The Water Project Collection
(L1, L2, L3, L4) This site provides an easy-to-navigate collection of background articles and resources to explore water scarcity and the health impacts in a range of regions (mini-case studies).
Browse the site

(L2, L3) Tox Town is an interactive website for students and educators to help explain and explore environmental health concerns and toxic chemicals in an imaginary city, farm, port, and town.
Browse the site

Urbanization and Health in the Developing World
(L1, L2, L3) This slidedeck provides an example of a lecture for a class on urbanization and health identifying demographic trends, emerging health problems, potential solutions and what makes a city healthy.
Teaching tool

Urbanization and its Effect on Health 
(L2, L2, L3, L4) Urbanization and its effect on global health slide-based lecture utilizing a case example of India.
Teaching tool

Biodiversity and Health
(L1, L3, L4) This brief report explores the link between biodiversity and human health in medicinal contributions, food security, infectious diseases, green spaces and urban biodiversity, uncertainties and complexities, and policy implications.
Teaching tool

Planetary Health Alliance

The Planetary Health Alliance is a consortium of over 340 universities, government entities, research institutes, and other partners around the world committed to understanding and addressing global environmental change and its health impacts.
Website via Visura

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