2019 - 2021
Climate-change effects on the epidemiology of infectious diseases and the impacts on Northern societies
CLINF is a Nordic Centre of Excellence within the NordForsk program on “Responsible development of the Arctic.” The project is running 2016 to 2021, involving all the Nordic countries including Greenland and Russia.
Climate change is first and foremost felt in the northern regions where the rate and magnitude are the greatest. What happens in the Arctic will impact the rest of the world. In a changing climate, ecological alterations will affect the geographical boundaries of microorganisms with the capacity to cause diseases in humans and animals. Most of the climate sensitive infections are zoonoses - transmitted between animals and humans. Important vector and reservoir animals for example ticks, badgers and roe deer are expanding their geographical distribution as a result of climate change. Many northern societies depend on animal husbandry, such as sheep and reindeer herding. Also hunting, fishing and tourism is of importance for the livelihoods of the inhabitants. Animals also play a central role in the local culture, so the northern societies will have to deal with the challenges climate change pose concerning infectious diseases also in the view of how to make their living and to their cultural values.
The potential effects of infectious diseases following climate change are complex. Therefore, CLINF engages a multi-disciplinary scientific team. The One Health perspective on human-, animal- and ecosystem health is central. The overall aim is to develop the present knowledge about impacts and adaptive measures to deal with climate sensitive infections. Focus is infectious diseases in terms of health statistics, additional sampling and analyses, ecology, economic impacts, gender and traditional knowledge in the northern region.
SVA contribut in several ways and below follow some examples. All publications can be found on www.clinf.org
An extensive and systematic literature search has been achieved to support the identification of 37 climate sensitive infections performed by a group of experts in the CLINF project. Human and animal disease data collection has been performed in all participating countries. The availability, reporting methods, quality and details of data vary much between countries and regions. Animal data has been difficult to access. A short communication regarding the discrepancies in human data in the Nordic is published.
To gain new knowledge on the infections present among animals in the north semi-domesticated reindeer has been sampled in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. In Iceland wild reindeer has been sampled. Screening for infections has been done using next generation sequencing (NGS) analyses. The results are under evaluation. One manuscript on pestivirus infections has been published and a study on Brucellosis are ongoing.
Collection of ticks in Sweden is ongoing in order to evaluate their present geographical distribution of endemic and exotic species and their role as vectors for climate sensitive infections in the north. A new species, Hyalomma, not detected earlier so far north was recognized 2018. Also, the Taiga tick (Ixodes perculatus) was detected in the northwest part of Sweden, earlier just noted along the north east coast. Another ongoing study is focusing on tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) and the risk for humans getting infected by consuming unpasteurised milk or milk products from infected cattle, goat and sheep in Sweden and Finland.
SVA has participated in several international workshops and conferences to present parts of the work. Also, an international workshop within the project with focus on writing manuscripts in common was arranged 2018. And more, two international seminars/workshops 2017 and 2018 with focus on animal infectious diseases and zoonoses has also been arranged.
CLINF is producing new map- and data-products of current and projected geographic spread of climate sensitive infections. The results are continuously made accessible to decision-makers, scientists and the public and disseminated in lay terms www.clinf.org