Climate change and control of diarrhoeal diseases in South Africa: Priorities for action.
Pham, M D
Wright, C Y
Erasmus, B F N
Chersich Climate Change And Heat-Health Study Group, M F
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AbstractWeather conditions, especially temperature and precipitation, play a critical role in shaping patterns of diarrhoeal diseases. They determine the frequency of outbreaks, and the spatial and seasonal distribution of cases. Not surprisingly, it is anticipated that the burden of diarrhoeal diseases will escalate with climate change, in tandem with gradual increments in mean temperatures, but also during episodic heatwaves. The degree and nature of this escalation will, however, vary with the mix of pathogens in an area, the quality of sanitation services, food hygiene regulations and their enforcement, and the age structure of the population, among other factors. Understanding these patterns can inform the design of measures to prevent and control heat-related diarrhoea. In this editorial, we sum evidence on the heat sensitivity of enteric infections in South Africa (SA) and other parts of sub-Saharan Africa (19 studies), drawing on articles located in a systematic review (methods detailed in Manyuchi et al. ), and consider the implications of these findings for control of diarrhoea in SA in the context of climate change.