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Delays in reducing waterborne and water-related infectious diseases in China under climate change

Nature Climate Change volume 4, pages 11091115 (2014) | Download Citation

Abstract

Despite China’s rapid progress in improving water, sanitation and hygiene (WSH) access, in 2011, 471 million people lacked access to improved sanitation and 401 million to household piped water. As certain infectious diseases are sensitive to changes in both climate and WSH conditions, we projected impacts of climate change on WSH-attributable diseases in China in 2020 and 2030 by coupling estimates of the temperature sensitivity of diarrhoeal diseases and three vector-borne diseases, temperature projections from global climate models, WSH-infrastructure development scenarios, and projected demographic changes. By 2030, climate change is projected to delay China’s rapid progress towards reducing WSH-attributable infectious disease burden by 8–85 months. This development delay summarizes the adverse impact of climate change on WSH-attributable infectious diseases in China, and can be used in other settings where a significant health burden may accompany future changes in climate even as the total burden of disease falls owing to non-climate reasons.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported in part by the Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems Division of the National Science Foundation under grant no. 1249250, by the Division of Earth Sciences of the National Science Foundation under grant no. 1360330, by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease (K01AI091864) and by the Global Health Institute at Emory University. Y.L. was supported in part by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U01EH000405) and the National Institutes of Health (R21ES020225). S.L. was supported in part by US EPA Science to Achieve Results grant (RD835192010) and by Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida. Y.G. was supported in part by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy as part of the Regional and Global Climate Modeling Program. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is operated for DOE by Battelle Memorial Institute (DE-AC05-76RL01830).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Environmental Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Rd NE Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA

    • Maggie Hodges
    • , Jessica H. Belle
    • , Matthew C. Freeman
    • , Yang Liu
    • , Jeremy J. Hess
    •  & Justin V. Remais
  2. Emory University School of Medicine, 1648 Pierce Dr NE Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA

    • Maggie Hodges
    •  & Jeremy J. Hess
  3. Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado, 13001 E. 17th Place Aurora, Colorado 80045, USA

    • Elizabeth J. Carlton
  4. Department of Environmental and Global Health, College of Public Health and Health Professions, and Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, 2055 Mowry Road Gainesville, Florida 32610, USA

    • Song Liang
  5. Office of Disease Control and Emergency Response, China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 155 Changbai Road, Changping District Beijing 102206, China

    • Huazhong Li
  6. Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 18 Shuangqing Road, Haidian District Beijing 100085, China

    • Wei Luo
  7. Atmospheric Science and Global Change Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, 902 Battelle Boulevard Richland, Washington 99352, USA

    • Yang Gao

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Contributions

M.H., J.H.B., E.J.C., S.L., H.L., W.L., J.J.H. and J.V.R. conceived and designed the experiments; M.H., J.H.B., S.L., Y.G. and J.V.R. performed the experiments; M.H., J.H.B., Y.G. and J.V.R. analysed the data; M.H., J.H.B., E.J.C., S.L., H.L., W.L., M.C.F., Y.L., J.J.H. and J.V.R. contributed materials/analysis tools; and M.H., J.H.B., E.J.C., S.L., H.L., W.L., M.C.F., Y.L., Y.G., J.J.H. and J.V.R. wrote the paper.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Justin V. Remais.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2428

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