Climate Change: Impact on Viral Diseases

Evelyne Schvoerer*, 1, Jean-Pierre Massue2, Jean-Pierre Gut1, Françoise Stoll-Keller1
1 Virology Institute, University Hospital of Strasbourg, 3 Koeberlé Street, 67 000 Strasbourg, France
2 European Expert, Previously Working in the Secretariat of Major Hazards Agreement, European Council, Strasbourg, France

© 2008 Schvoerer et al..

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Virology Institute, University Hospital of Strasbourg, 3 Koeberlé Street, 67 000 Strasbourg, France; Tel: (33) 390243696; Fax: (33) 390243750; E-mail:


Gas emission by humans will change climate, warming by 1.4-5.8°C as predicted at the end of the current century. Climate oscillations between warm and cold phases (El Niño) add complexity in the field. The effects on health could be thermal stress, extreme weather events, and subsequently emerging infectious diseases. Consequences on food yields, social, demographic and economic imbalances, could also favour contagious diseases.

Increasing vector-borne infections could represent a major health concern. Additionally, numerous floods and massive movements of people could facilitate the transmission of water-borne infections. Moreover, decrease in food supply could disorganise populations with crowding and concomitant spreading of transmissible infectious pathogens such as viruses.

This short review aims to present the potential viral impact on human health in case of climate change, i.e. increased arboviruses, “tropical” viruses, and viral infections related to overcrowding in poor healthy context.