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Forecasted Impact of Climate Change on Infectious Disease and Health Security in Hawaii by 2050

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 August 2016

Deon V. Canyon*
College of Security Studies, Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies, Honolulu, Hawai’i
Rick Speare
Tropical Health Solutions Pty Ltd and James Cook University, Townsville, Australia
Frederick M. Burkle Jr
Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC.
Correspondence and reprint requests to Deon Canyon, 2058 Maluhia Rd, Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies, Honolulu, HI 96815 (e-mail:



Climate change is expected to cause extensive shifts in the epidemiology of infectious and vector-borne diseases. Scenarios on the effects of climate change typically attribute altered distribution of communicable diseases to a rise in average temperature and altered incidence of infectious diseases to weather extremes.


Recent evaluations of the effects of climate change on Hawaii have not explored this link. It may be expected that Hawaii’s natural geography and robust water, sanitation, and health care infrastructure renders residents less vulnerable to many threats that are the focus on smaller, lesser developed, and more vulnerable Pacific islands. In addition, Hawaii’s communicable disease surveillance and response system can act rapidly to counter increases in any disease above baseline and to redirect resources to deal with changes, particularly outbreaks due to exotic pathogens.


The evidence base examined in this article consistently revealed very low climate sensitivity with respect to infectious and mosquito-borne diseases.


A community resilience model is recommended to increase adaptive capacity for all possible climate change impacts rather an approach that focuses specifically on communicable diseases. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:797–804)

Brief Report
Copyright © Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc. 2016 

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Died June 5, 2016.


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