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Climate, Environmental Changes Impact Diseases’ Ability To Adapt, Spread

Financial Times: A 19th century plague revived in an age of climate change
Emma Glennon, Gates-Cambridge scholar and Ph.D student at Cambridge University

“…The persistence of [cholera] in Haiti is a tragedy but it is not random. It is part of a larger global pattern of cholera re-emergence. Hurricane Matthew reveals the impact severe weather can have. … [T]ies among water, weather, and cholera are powerful, and … climate change may revive diseases assumed conquered. Cholera is not the only potential infectious consequence of climate change. Although some diseases may have difficulty adapting, many of those that flourish in the warmest parts of the world are likely to spread. … Haiti is in crisis, and it needs targeted attention in addition to long-term investment in health systems. But we cannot afford to treat cholera in Haiti as an isolated incident. Diseases are living, evolving beings in delicate balance with both humans and with our shared environment. As we alter our environment in unprecedented ways, we must seek to understand how that balance may shift” (11/8).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.