Climate change and infectious diseases

The fifth African Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity organised by Global Emerging Pathogens Treatment Consortium tagged ‘Climate Change and Conflict: Implications for Emerging Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity in Africa’ brought together world experts to identify regional and international opportunities for collaboration in responding to Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID).

And the conference revealed that there is a connection between Climate Change and Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) as the poor management of waste and unchecked use of chemicals has contributed to the rise of infectious diseases. Whatever we do on the surface of the earth is reflected in the water table that ends up carrying pathogens and heavy metals that are harmful to the body.

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The pressure on water is enormous when we look at the drying up of the Lake Chad, a source of livelihood for 350 million people in four countries – Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad-it has increased tension in the region. Wherever you have conflicts and insecurity, there is always the opportunity for biosecurity threats.

Ebola spreads rapidly in three countries- Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea – because of lack of human resources, the economic and financial resources to cope, the inaccessibility of remote location where the disease was on the rise, the inexperience of staff to handle the strange disease and the lack of specialised infrastructure for dangerous pathogens.

There is a need to debate the impact of the changing climate on Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) and biosecurity in Africa, as well as to discuss the rising insecurity and the influence of non-state actors on biosecurity in Africa.

Alli Sheriffdeen Abiola,

Lagos.

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