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UH researchers find 58% of pathogenic diseases made worse by climate change

Climate Change wildfire california
Noah Berger/AP
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FR34727 AP
FILE - An air tanker flies past flames while battling the Oak Fire in Mariposa County, Calif., Sunday, July 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

A team of researchers from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa found that 58% of pathogenic diseases are aggravated by climate change.

Pathogenic diseases include COVID-19, hepatitis, pneumonia and malaria.

Researchers found that the impacts of climate change — such as heat waves and drought — influence the activity of viruses and bacteria.

"The solution to this problem is so massive because it requires every single one of us to identify that we are causing climate change," said Camilo Mora, a lead author of the study and a professor at UH Mānoa.

When climactic hazards displace people from their homes, it increases their chances of coming into contact with pathogens. It also diminishes the human ability to cope with pathogens.

"When we think about climate change, we think about some ego corporation that is doing nasty things to the environment, when in reality, it’s every one of us demanding those resources that those companies provide," Mora told HPR.

The research also found that 22% of the sampled diseases showed reduced spreading due to warmer conditions.

Zoe Dym is a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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