As the climate warms, coastal areas are more prone to the devastating impacts of sea-level rise. Did you know, however, that these same seaside areas are also more vulnerable to sickness? Evidently, with increasing temperatures comes increases in salmonella infections. As the Baltimore Sun reports below, scientists with the University of Maryland and the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene have found empirical support for a salmonella-climate connection, depending on where people lived. Climate for Health has been working with health professionals in various health care roles to discuss ways in which they can proactively respond to climate threats. "We're not just talking about salmonella," said Carmen Cordova, a microbiologist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. "We're also talking about listeria, staph. They like warmer temperatures, they grow in our bodies. ... In simple terms, the warmer the better for these organisms that are looking to cause diseases in humans." Let's get to it. Help us work to prevent these climate-related diseases before they begin.
By Timothy B. Wheeler I August 14, 2015
People who live along the coast may have more to fear from climate change than rising waters. A team of Maryland researchers has found evidence suggesting that the odds of getting sick from a salmonella infection go up, especially for coastal residents, as the shifting climate produces more extreme weather conditions.
Drawing on a decade's worth of health and weather data, scientists with the University of Maryland and the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene found that the risks of getting a salmonella infection increased when temperatures soared far above normal, or when torrential downpours occurred. What's more, they found the risks even greater in coastal areas than inland.
"When people talk about coastal areas and climate change, we think of sea-level rise," said Amir Sapkota, a senior author of the study and an associate professor at UM's School of Public Health in College Park. "We know coastal areas are vulnerable, but there hasn't been a characterization of the risk in terms of health."
One of the most common causes of food poisoning in the United States, Salmonella enterica bacteria sicken about 1.2 million people a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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