Zoonotic infections in Alaska: disease prevalence, potential impact of climate change and recommended actions for earlier disease detection, research, prevention and control

Abstract

Over the last 60 years, Alaska's mean annual temperature has increased by 1.6°C, more than twice the rate of the rest of the United States. As a result, climate change impacts are more pronounced here than in other regions of the United States. Warmer temperatures may allow some infected host animals to survive winters in larger numbers, increase their population and expand their range of habitation thus increasing the opportunity for transmission of infection to humans. Subsistence hunting and gathering activities may place rural residents of Alaska at a greater risk of acquiring zoonotic infections than urban residents. Known zoonotic diseases that occur in Alaska include brucellosis, toxoplasmosis, trichinellosis, giardiasis/cryptosporidiosis, echinococcosis, rabies and tularemia. Actions for early disease detection, research and prevention and control include: (1) determining baseline levels of infection and disease in both humans and host animals; (2) conducting more research to understand the ecology of infection in the Arctic environment; (3) improving active and passive surveillance systems for infection and disease in humans and animals; (4) improving outreach, education and communication on climate-sensitive infectious diseases at the community, health and animal care provider levels; and (5) improving coordination between public health and animal health agencies, universities and tribal health organisations.

DOI: 10.3402/ijch.v72i0.19562

Extracted Key Phrases

2 Figures and Tables

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Hueffer2013ZoonoticII, title={Zoonotic infections in Alaska: disease prevalence, potential impact of climate change and recommended actions for earlier disease detection, research, prevention and control}, author={Karsten Hueffer and Alan J. Parkinson and Robert F. Gerlach and James E. Berner}, booktitle={International journal of circumpolar health}, year={2013} }