Ethics, climate change and infectious disease

Euzebiusz Jamrozik, Michael J Selgelid

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This chapter focuses on the risks from infectious diseases whose geographic
and epidemiological distribution is evolving with climate change. Major
examples with strong evidence of such effects include (i) mosquito vector-borne
diseases such as malaria and the arboviruses, and (ii) diarrhoeal diseases such as
cholera and salmonellosis. Yet the burden of many other viruses, bacteria and parasites, is also likely to increase by similar mechanisms, and be felt first and foremost in poor, marginalised and displaced communities, raising issues of international justice. This chapter summarises the evidence for links between climate and infectious pathogens, and the common ethical issues that arise. Addressing these diseases and related global health inequality requires immediate action, particularly aimed at (i) reducing or reversing climate change, (ii) predicting future harms, and (iii) harm reduction where the risk of disease and death from infection is already increasing. There is a strong ethical case for wealthy countries to act in order to mitigate harm and injustice among vulnerable populations. This chapter ends with a discussion of how ethical analysis can guide health policy and practice at all levels.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBioethical Insights into Values and Policy:
Subtitle of host publicationClimate Change and Health
EditorsCheryl C. Macpherson
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783319261676
ISBN (Print)9783319261652
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NamePublic Health Ethics Analysis
ISSN (Print)2211-6680
ISSN (Electronic)2211-6699

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