According to the World Bank, in 2014 there were 1.6 billion people living in regions with absolute water scarcity; the number is expected to rise to 2.8 billion people by 2025.​

While the effects of climate change vary from region to region, climate change impacts all inhabitants of Earth. In fact, the World Health Organization predicts approximately 150,000 deaths a year could result from climate change in low-income countries alone: from crop failure and malnutrition, floods, diarrheal and vector-borne diseases.

Clean, safe water is essential for drinking, washing and control of disease, and in developing countries, it’s majorly affected by climate change. Without adequate supplies of potable water, developing countries are vulnerable to poverty and even national or regional conflict.

Yet a surplus of water is equally undesirable. Standing water from climate-induced flooding can breed vector-borne diseases, as the recent World Health Day reminded us. Malaria, Chikungunya, West Nile, Dengue Fever, Lyme disease, and Yellow Fever know no borders, infecting victims via mosquitos, flies, ticks and other vectors.

APHL is addressing global water problems (which often relate to climate change) by participating in the US Water Partnership. Meanwhile, members of the global public health laboratory community continue to identify – through surveillance and analysis -- ways in which climate change affects health. By sharing this information with health officials, public health laboratories provide an important contribution to efforts to counter the effects of climate change.

For more information contact, Ava Onalaja, MS, MPH Specialist, Global Health, 240.485.2719, ava.onalaja@aphl.org