The Impact of Climate Change on Vector-Borne Diseases and Marine Health

The scientific community is now unanimous in pointing to human activities as responsible for the climate crisis, due, in particular, to the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. To date, the climate crisis represents one of the main threats to the health of humans, animals, and ecosystems; In fact, the rate of global warming recorded in recent decades has been found to be unprecedented.

Climate Change and Its Effects on the Mediterranean

It is now well known that some areas of the planet are particularly affected by climate change; The Mediterranean Sea is one of them, characterized by high average temperatures and a predisposition to the accumulation of environmental contaminants. The climate changes lead to alterations in atmospheric temperatures and sea surface, affecting the carrying capacity of ecosystems.

The Rise of Vector-Borne Diseases

The increase in global average temperatures has led to a significant increase in the spread of vector-borne diseases (VBDs), diseases that can be transmitted to humans and animals through the action of arthropod insects. In recent decades, vector-borne diseases have emerged in areas where they were not present before, posing new threats to human and animal health.

Globalization and the Spread of Infectious Diseases

In addition to climate change, social and economic changes due to globalization open up new ways of spreading infectious diseases, constituting a serious threat to human, animal, and environmental health from a One Health perspective.

The Importance of Entomological Surveillance in Italy

In recent years in Italy, new species of invasive exotic mosquitoes have been introduced, including the tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) and the Korean mosquito (Aedes koreicus). Entomological surveillance allows for the effective control of diseases transmitted by arthropod vectors, highlighting the importance of studying the populations present in the area and implementing prevention and control measures.

Surveillance of Marine Mammals

The surveillance of marine mammals that beach themselves along the Italian coasts is critical. The increase in the average temperature of the sea surface has favored the survival of pathogenic microorganisms, increasing the risk of marine species contracting infections caused by emerging pathogens. Cetaceans have become sentinel animals of the sea and indicators of its state of health.

The One Health Approach

The concept of One Health, which emphasizes the indissoluble link between human, animal, and environmental health, is of fundamental importance. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the World Health Organization (WHO) have signed a groundbreaking agreement to strengthen cooperation in a more integrated and coordinated approach.

A New Management Scheme in Disease Control

Collaboration between professionals working in the medical, veterinary, and environmental worlds will be essential for prevention activities in the fight against emerging and re-emerging zoonoses. This represents a new management scheme in the control of the spread of diseases, contributing to making the organization of the health system effective and sustainable.

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