The Baffling Nexus of Climate Change and Health

The Baffling Nexus of Climate Change and Health

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In 2004, a rare tropical fungus caused a string of respiratory failures and neural disorders along the Pacific Northwest coast, baffling the health community. That same year, Alaskan cruise ship passengers dining on local oysters fell sick with a gastric virus typically found in warm water estuaries. Now Texas, after an unusually wet spring and dry summer, is battling what may become the country’s worst recorded outbreak of West Nile virus.

Meteorological and ecological shifts driven by climate change are creating a slow and often unpredictable bloom of novel public health challenges across the United States. The American Public Health Association has declared climate change “one of the most serious public health threats facing our nation,” although the precise nature of that threat remains uncertain.

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