Published (reviewed and quality assured)
Justification for indicator selection
Climate change is likely to cause changes in ecological systems that will affect the risk of infectious diseases in Europe, including the seasonal activity of local vectors, and the establishment of tropical and semi-tropical species. Shifts in the global and regional distribution and behaviour of insect and bird species are early signs that biological systems are already responding to climate change. The IPCC (2007a) projects that climate change will lead to significant changes in infectious disease transmission by vectors (such as mosquitoes and ticks) as a result of changes in geographic range, seasonality, disease transmission and absolute number of cases.
Patterns of infectious disease in Europe are and will be affected by the movement of people and goods, changes in hosts and pathogens, land use and other environmental factors. Personal risk factors such as the status of the immune system also play an important role. There are fears in Europe that new infectious diseases could be triggering population health problems, and that previously-existing diseases could re-emerge. Whether this happens will depend very much on the international, European and national surveillance systems in place for early detection and response, vector- and host-control measures, awareness of people and health professionals, and preventive measures such as vaccination and treatment. In many cases it will be necessary to revise integrated vector-control measures, increase international surveillance, strengthen collaboration between veterinary and public health services, and inform people on how to avoid potential risks.
Information is available, mainly from the climate change and adaptation strategies for human health (cCASHh) study, national assessments and global scenarios. The ongoing EDEN project and the ECDC expert consultation on magnitude and importance of vector-borne diseases in Europe (V-borne assessment) will further provide clarification and additional risk considerations in the next few years.
Vector-borne diseases in this report are grouped into mosquito-borne, tick-borne and sandfly-borne. Bacteria and parasites can be transmitted through these vector viruses.
- References Confalonieri. U.; Menne, B.; Akhtar, R. et al., 2007. Human Health. In: Parry, M. L. et al., eds. Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Working Group II contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report. Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA. Cambridge University Press. Daniel, M.; Danielová, V.; Kríž, B., 2006. Tick-borne Encephalitis. In: Menne B, Ebi KL, eds. Climate Change and Adaptation Strategies for Human Health. Darmstadt: WHO Regional Office for Europe, Steinkopff Verlag; p. 189-205. Ebi, K. L.; Menne, B., 2006. Vector- and Rodent-borne Diseases. In: Menne, B.; Ebi, K. L. (eds.). Climate Change and Adaptation Strategies for Human Health. Darmstadt: WHO Regional Office for Europe, Steinkopff Verlag; pp. 129-265. ECDC, WHO, 2007. Mission Report. Chikungunya in Italy. Joint ECDC/WHO visit for a European Risk Assessment. 17-21 September 20: WHO Regional Office for Europe. Available under: ttp://ecdc.europa.eu/pdf/071030CHK_mission_ITA.pdf. Hales, S.; de Wet, N.; Maindonald, J. et al., 2002. Potential effect of population and climate changes on global distribution of dengue fever: an empirical model. Lancet 360: 830-834. Hubálek, Z.; Kríž , B.; Menne, B., 2006. West Nile Virus: Ecology, Epidemiology and Prevention. In: Menne, B.; Ebi, K. L. (eds.). Climate Change and Adaptation Strategies for Human Health. Darmstadt: WHO Regional Office for Europe, Steinkopff Verlag; p. 217-242. Lindgren, E.; Naucke, T., 2006. Leishmaniasis: influences of climate and climate change epidemiology, ecology and adaptation measures. In: Menne, B; Ebi, K. (eds.). Climate change and adaptation strategies for human health. Darmstadt: WHO Regional Office for Europe, Steinkopff; pp. 131-156. Menne, B.; Apfel, F.; Kovats, S. et al., 2008. Protecting health in Europe from climate change. WHO Regional Office for Europe. Copenhagen. Schaffner, F.; Hendrickx, G.; Scholte, E.J.; Medlock, J.; Angelini, P.; Ducheyne, E., 2008. Development of Aedes albopictus risk maps. TigerMaps project report. Stockholm: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. http://ecdc.europa.eu/ . Scholte, E. and Schaffner, F., 2007. Chapter 14: Waiting for the tiger: establishment and spread of the Aedes albopictus mosquito in Europe. In: Takken, W.; BGJ, K. (eds.). Emerging pests and vector-borne diseases in Europe. Ecology and control of vector-borne diseases. Wageningen, The Netherlands: Wageningen Academic Publishers; p. 241-260. Semenza, J. and Menne, B., 2008. Infectious diseases and climate change in Europe. Submitted to Lancet Infectious Diseases, August 2008.
- Presence of Aedes albopictus (the tiger mosquito) in Europe in January 2008
- Areas of possible establishment of Aedes albopictus (the tiger mosquito) in Europe for 2010 and 2030
Policy context and targets
In April 2009 the European Commission presented a White Paper on the framework for adaptation policies and measures to reduce the European Union's vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. The aim is to increase the resilience to climate change of health, property and the productive functions of land, inter alia by improving the management of water resources and ecosystems. More knowledge is needed on climate impact and vulnerability but a considerable amount of information and research already exists which can be shared better through a proposed Clearing House Mechanism. The White Paper stresses the need to mainstream adaptation into existing and new EU policies. A number of Member States have already taken action and several have prepared national adaptation plans. The EU is also developing actions to enhance and finance adaptation in developing countries as part of a new post-2012 global climate agreement expected in Copenhagen (Dec. 2009). For more information see: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/adaptation/index_en.htm
No targets have been specified
Related policy documents
No related policy documents have been specified
Key policy question
Methodology for indicator calculation
Methodology for gap filling
No methodology references available.
EEA data references
- No datasets have been specified here.
External data references
Data sources in latest figures
Data sets uncertainty
No uncertainty has been specified
Short term work
Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.
Long term work
Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.
Responsibility and ownership
EEA Contact InfoHans-Martin Füssel
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
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