Climate change and foodborne transmission of parasites: A consideration of possible interactions and impacts for selected parasites

Elsevier, Food Research International, Volume 68, February 01, 2015
Selstad Utaaker K., Robertson L.J.
A changing climate alters the living conditions for almost every species on earth. We recognise that these changes may threaten our environment, our water and food supply, and our health; predicting the likely changes and impacts we try to prepare for different weather conditions. A complicated and perhaps underestimated threat is how climate change may affect foodborne parasites - a subject that tends to be neglected among infectious diseases under any climatic conditions. Here we review some selected examples of these pathogens, and how they may interact and alter with the changing environment: the complexity and variation in their lifecycles mean that different parasites will not necessarily be affected similarly by the same climate changes. To provide illustrative examples we have chosen a couple of parasites from each major group: trematodes, cestodes, nematodes, and protozoans. Even within these groups, different members utilize widely varying routes to complete their lifecycles, exploring new areas together with their hosts, floating from one place to another, or travelling along with their hosts to white spots on their maps. These parasites are very different from each other, but all are influenced by abiotic factors and have a common goal, to reach their next host. This review aims to open the readers mind to how exposure routes and transmission routes may be affected by climate change: realization of the possibilities is the first step towards closing the door to the parasites that are knocking at it.