The goal of our project is to compile in a systematic manner the evidence in support of transmittable diseases being aggravated by climate hazards.
To ensure a systematic review, we scrutinized the first 200 references in Google Scholar that resulted from using as keywords each possible combination of ten climate hazards (i.e., warming, heatwaves, precipitation, floods, drought, fires, sea level, storms, natural cover change, ocean climate change) and “human diseases”. We selected papers that reported cases examples of diseases regardless of whether impacts were positive or negative. Selected papers were read and from them extracted any mention to cases examples ofdiseasesaggravated by climate hazards.
A case example refers to any mention of an explicit climate hazard affecting an explicit human disease in an explicit or implicit place and time.The criteria allowed us to identify the climate hazard and human disease that was affected while ensuring the case example was empirically observed. The explicit reference to a climate hazard and human disease allowed us to classify each entry in the figure shown in this web-page.
Mentions to diseases that lacked traceable evidence were excluded. For instance, a claim like "outbreaks of malaria have been related to warming" was not considered. This entry lacks the traceable evidence to support such a conclusion; that is, when and where the warming affected malaria cases. In turn a valid entry was: "warmer than normal summers have resulted in increasing malaria cases in Kenia (Myers, 2019)”. This later entry provides traceable evidence that an explicit climate hazard (i.e.,warming) impacted an explicit human disease (i.e., malaria) in a given place (i.e., Africa).
Most entries are actual extracts copied from the papers read. All entries in the databasewere reviewed and validated by a group of two or three experts to ensure that the given entry met the criteria of a case example.
For quality assurance, the verification of entries and web-page management follows the following protocol:
A person can register and wait for verification by the web-master, who will approve or not the user to enter records of impacts. After acceptance of the user, he/she can enter data, modify his/her own data, but not that of others. Any entry will appear automatically in the list of entries but for display in the main page, it has to go through a secondary process of verification by an expert. Experts will assess if the given entry met the criteria and if the source is reliable. After validation by an expert, the entry will appear in the main page.