Climate-sensitive diseases to be tracked

16 May 2020

Vet Record Image

By Josh Loeb

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) is creating a special register of ‘climate-sensitive’ vectorborne diseases, the distribution of which it is hoping to better map as the world heats up.

The global organisation is heightening surveillance and monitoring around certain diseases, and wants to harness the power of big data and artificial intelligence to make predictions about the future spread of climate-assisted pathogens.

This, it hopes, will allow countries to adapt their food systems and subsequently reduce their vulnerability to starvation arising from climate change.

Matthew Stone, the OIE’s deputy director general of international standards and science, told World Veterinary Association (WVA) congress delegates last month that Rift Valley fever, West Nile fever, bluetongue and avian influenza were among the diseases classified as ‘climate sensitive’ by the OIE.

Threats to livestock from these diseases, and the knock-on impact this could have on food availability, is...