Global Climate Change and Health Essay

Describe two health care concerns related to global climate change.
Topics could include increased exposure to vectors that transmit Zika, West Nile virus, or malaria; respiratory problems; food distribution problems due to drought or lack of water; or heat-related illness.
Compare concerns in the United States related to these topics with one developed and one developing country.
Describe health promotion/health protection strategies a nurse could implement.  Global Climate Change and Health Essay

Global Climate Change and Health


Climate is among the numerous causes of disease emergence. According to Paz (2015), climate mostly affects diseases resulting from pathogens whose part of lifecycle occurs outside the host, and hence exposure to the environment. Climate sensitive diseases are transmitted through arthropods vectors in food, water, and aerosols (Paz, 2015). This essay will describe healthcare concerns allied to global climate change and health promotion/health protection strategies that could be implemented to prevent or manage the diseases resulting from climate change.  Global Climate Change and Health Essay

Zika virus and West Nile fever are among diseases attributed to global climate change. Climate change plays a major rule in the spread of Zika virus in that climate change create favorable conditions for mosquitoes to transmit the virus (Asad & Carpenter, 2018). For example, heavy rainfall and warm temperatures encourage mosquitoes that carry and transmit Zika virus to thrive. Heavy rainfall with Europe has been associated with the spread of zika virus because the rains can imply stagnant water which is a significant breeding habitat for mosquitoes.  On the other hand, the heat helps mosquitoes to incubate virus and increases the probability of people having their skins being exposed to mosquito bites (Asad & Carpenter, 2018)There is a major risk associated with Zika virus emerging within Europe; Zika virus infected more than a million individuals within South America between 2015-2016. The key vectors of Zika virus include Ae. albopictus and Ae. aegypti. Ae. aegypti has been found to be more vector competent when compared to Ae. albopictus. Ae. aegypti also has higher biting rates and anthropophily and hence the risk of Zika transmission is higher in the presence of Ae. aegypti. Paz (2015) further explains that there might be other mosquitoes within Europe/UK with the ability to transmit Zika virus. The transmission of Zika virus can also occur through sex and there is also a slight risk of the virus being transmitted outside of regions with competent vectors (Asad & Carpenter, 2018).

On the other hand, West Nile fever is caused by West Nile virus (WNV) and is transmitted and spread by Culex mosquitoes. West Nile fever is an endemic within eastern and southern European countries.  Mosquitoes that act as vectors for West Nile virus are extremely sensitive to temperature changes and the climate change leading to an increased temperature within Europe has been associated with the emergence of West Nile fever in the region (Baylis, 2017). Baylis (2017) further adds that climate change can influence survival rates of mosquitoes via season changes. According to Baylis (2017) that the recent climatic changes, and especially the increased temperature and changes in rainfall levels, significantly contributed to the maintenance of West Nile Virus within regions such as the eastern Mediterranean, southern Europe, the Canadian Prairies, western Asia, and parts of Australia and the US.


Comparison in the United States to a Developed/Developing Country

In the US, West Nile virus is attributed to most mosquito-borne diseases.  Cases of West Nile fever in the US are common during mosquito season that begins during summer and continues through fall

However, west Nile fever is an endemic within Tunisia, a developing country. West Nile virus spread within endemo-epidemic mode in Tunisia and from 1997, to 2012, there have been three significant upsurges of West Nile virus cases. From the start of 2018 to October, there were 177 cases of suspected cases of West Nile fever and 17 cases were confirmed. Most cases of the disease were reported during the rainy season of august-September (WHO, 2018).

In Italy a developed country, the percentage of cases of West Nile fever have increased where there have been a higher number of disease cases compared to previous years, indicating a high level of West Nile virus circulation in Italy, which can potentially lead to an even higher number of cases in future (Baylis, 2017).  Global Climate Change and Health Essay

For Zika virus, currently, there is no local transmission of the virus within the US. However, in 2016-2017 there was a local transmission of zika virus within the US, and particularly Texas and Florida. The epidemic caught the US unprepared. Similarly, currently, there is no local zika transmission in Italy. However, Italy among the countries with a moderate probability of zika virus transmission but World Health Organization (WHO) is confident that Italy has the ability to fast detect and contain local zika virus in case of an epidemic (Asad & Carpenter, 2018). According to the WHO, zika virus is not a threat within Tunisia.

Health Promotion/Health Protection Strategies

Nurses have an active role to play in the prevention of Zika virus and West Nile virus. This can be achieved through patient and community education about preventative strategies that major in protection against mosquito bites (Wilson & Nguyen, 2017). The health education can include educating people on the importance of sleeping under a mosquito net, using insect repellents eliminating mosquito breeding grounds such as stagnant water and bushy areas, as well as wearing long-sleeved tops and long trousers to avoid mosquito bites (Wilson & Nguyen, 2017).

Secondly, as patient advocates, a nurse has the role of influencing behavioral health changes in patients. Nurses are best placed to identify symptoms of infection early and thus recognize and report disease outbreaks. It is thus the role of the nurse to assist in controlling the spread of Zika virus and West Nile virus.  nurses also have the role of conducting door-door education to community members regarding strategies to prevent the transmission of viruses and how they can protect themselves from diseases (Wilson & Nguyen, 2017).


Asad H & Carpenter D. (2018). Effects of climate change on the spread of zika virus: a public health threat. Rev Environ Health. 33(1),31-42.

Baylis M. (2017). Potential impact of climate change on emerging vector-borne and other infections in the UK. Environ Health. 16(1), 112.

Paz S. (2015). Climate change impacts on West Nile virus transmission in a global context. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 370(1665), 20130561.

Wilson, A & Nguyen, M. (2017). The Zika Virus Epidemic: Public Health Roles for Nurses. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. 22(1).

World Health Organisation (WHO). (2018). Current Major Event. Epidemiological Monitor. 11(41).  Global Climate Change and Health Essay


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