Climate change, vector-borne diseases and health in the tropics
This talk recorded on Wed 20 April 2016, 6pm at University of Nottingham Kuala Lumpur Teaching Centre, Level 2, Chulan Tower, Number 3 Jalan Conlay, Kuala Lumpur.
Dr. David Taylor
David is currently Provost’s Chair Professor and Professor of Tropical Environmental Change (TEC) in the Department of Geography at National University of Singapore. His main research interests centre upon the human dimensions of environmental change in the tropics. He dates this interest to his PhD (a study of past environmental changes in central Africa), which he completed in the 1980s. David has retained a close connection with the tropics since, and recently completed his role as Scientific Coordinator of the EU FP7-funded HEALTHY FUTURES project, which focused on the health impacts of environmental changes in eastern Africa.
The health effects of future environmental, including climate, changes have been projected to be substantial, often negative and to vary geographically, with effects felt most acutely among the poorest members of society. Environmental change will impact health in a multitude of ways. Concern has, however, tended to focus on the future distribution and spread of infectious diseases, and in particular the negative health impacts of changes in transmission and outbreaks of vector borne diseases (VBDs) as a result of anthropogenic climate change. Links between climate (and other components of environment, including soils and land cover) and health are rarely simple, however. Indeed, deciphering what are often complex relationships demands a nuanced, inter-disciplinary approach that can accommodate the range of factors influencing both the cause and the effectiveness of responses to disease outbreaks. These factors, extending beyond the biology and ecology of the vector and pathogen, frame vulnerability to a VBD, or what has been termed the pathogenic landscape. Accounting for the complex of factors contributing to the pathogenic landscape is crucial to meaningful estimates of the risk of a VBD. This talk examines the prospects for important emerging and re-emerging VBDs in the tropics in the context of vulnerable communities and dynamic environmental conditions.