As temperatures go up, the risk of hurt from heat becomes higher. The way diseases spread might also change
Ancient germs frozen in ice for a long time might be released and pathogens could move to new places due to the climate change, experts have warned.
The changing climate, causing more floods and heavy rainfall, could also lead to more waterborne and zoonotic diseases, they said at a conference by DRIIV (Delhi Research Implementation & Innovation), an initiative of the principal scientific advisor (PSA) to the government.
The experts, including NITI Aayog Member V K Paul and ICMR Director General Rajiv Bahl, highlighted another worry - heat-related injuries. As temperatures go up, the risk of getting hurt from the heat becomes higher.
The way diseases spread might also change. Pathogens, which are tiny things that can make us sick, could move to new places because of climate change, Paul said at the conference.
He talked about very ancient pathogens that have been frozen in ice for a long time.
"As ice melts because of warmer temperatures, these ancient germs might be released. This adds another layer of concern to the already complex issue of health and climate change," Paul said.
The discussions at the conference stressed the need for strong health systems that can handle the changes that climate is bringing.
Parvinder Maini, Scientific Secretary of the PSA office, said, "Climate change heightens the risk of vector-borne diseases, antimicrobial resistance, and the transmission of zoonotic diseases. Indirectly, it affects food systems, nutrition, water access, housing, education, and care."
Maini called for a comprehensive approach involving science, technology, and innovation to combat these challenges.
She emphasised the shared responsibility of various stakeholders, including industry, academia, government, and local bodies, to collectively address the climate change issue.