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The climate change–infectious disease nexus: is it time for climate change syndemics?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 October 2013

Claire Heffernan*
Livestock Development Group, School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AL, UK


Conceptualizing climate as a distinct variable limits our understanding of the synergies and interactions between climate change and the range of abiotic and biotic factors, which influence animal health. Frameworks such as eco-epidemiology and the epi-systems approach, while more holistic, view climate and climate change as one of many discreet drivers of disease. Here, I argue for a new paradigmatic framework: climate-change syndemics. Climate-change syndemics begins from the assumption that climate change is one of many potential influences on infectious disease processes, but crucially is unlikely to act independently or in isolation; and as such, it is the inter-relationship between factors that take primacy in explorations of infectious disease and climate change. Equally importantly, as climate change will impact a wide range of diseases, the frame of analysis is at the collective rather than individual level (for both human and animal infectious disease) across populations.

Review Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

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