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Crit Rev Environ Sci Technol. 2012 Apr;42(8):857-890.

Climate Change Impact Assessment of Food- and Waterborne Diseases.

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Future Threats and Determinants Section, Scientific Advice Unit, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Stockholm, Sweden.
Institute for Hygiene and Public Health, Department of Medical Geography and Public Health, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany.


The PubMed and ScienceDirect bibliographic databases were searched for the period of 1998-2009 to evaluate the impact of climatic and environmental determinants on food- and waterborne diseases. The authors assessed 1,642 short and concise sentences (key facts), which were extracted from 722 relevant articles and stored in a climate change knowledge base. Key facts pertaining to temperature, precipitation, water, and food for 6 selected pathogens were scrutinized, evaluated, and compiled according to exposure pathways. These key facts (corresponding to approximately 50,000 words) were mapped to 275 terminology terms identified in the literature, which generated 6,341 connections. These relationships were plotted on semantic network maps to examine the interconnections between variables. The risk of campylobacteriosis is associated with mean weekly temperatures, although this link is shown more strongly in the literature relating to salmonellosis. Irregular and severe rain events are associated with Cryptosporidium sp. outbreaks, while noncholera Vibrio sp. displays increased growth rates in coastal waters during hot summers. In contrast, for Norovirus and Listeria sp. the association with climatic variables was relatively weak, but much stronger for food determinants. Electronic data mining to assess the impact of climate change on food- and waterborne diseases assured a methodical appraisal of the field. This climate change knowledge base can support national climate change vulnerability, impact, and adaptation assessments and facilitate the management of future threats from infectious diseases. In the light of diminishing resources for public health this approach can help balance different climate change adaptation options.


Campylobacter sp.; Cryptosporidium sp.; Listeria sp.; Norovirus; Salmonella sp.; Vibrio sp.; climate change; climate variability; environment; food; food- and waterborne diseases; ontology; precipitation; rain; reservoir

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