Infectious diseases place a substantial social and economic burden on Australia. Respiratory tract, food and vector-borne infections all decrease the quality and duration of Australian lives while antibiotic resistance is also becoming a costly problem. This burden is managed within a high-quality healthcare system which is expensive by global standards, although its benefits are considerable. There are a number of threats to the Australian health system, however. Ecological, climatic and demographic changes may alter disease risks. A growing population with high global interconnectedness is at risk from newly emergent diseases for which no treatments currently exist. Investment to ensure the health system remains responsive to these risks is essential because climate projections suggest the incidence of many infectious diseases is likely to increase. Changes to water supply, temperatures, timing of seasonal events, and the intensity and frequency of extreme weather could all increase pathogen replication rates, for example.
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Climate Change and Infectious Diseases: The Next 50 Years