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Climate change to drive up NZ salmonella risk

Embargoed until: Publicly released:

Increasing temperatures caused by climate change are expected to bump up New Zealanders' likelihood of getting sick with salmonella, according to new findings from Kiwi scientists. Using current climate projections for Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington, the researchers calculated inhabitants' future risk of getting salmonella. They found that Aucklanders will be the most likely to get sick followed by Cantabrians, whereas Wellingtonians won't see much of a difference.

Journal/conference: ANZJPH

Organisation/s: University of Otago, Massey University, AUT University

Media release

From: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health

Paper abstract:

Objective: Modelling the relationship between weather, climate and infectious diseases can help identify high-risk periods and provide understanding of the determinants of longer-term trends. We provide a detailed examination of the non-linear and delayed association between temperature and salmonellosis in three New Zealand cities (Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch). 
Methods: Salmonella notifications were geocoded to the city of residence for the reported case. City-specific associations between weekly maximum temperature and the onset date for reported salmonella infections (1997–2007) were modelled using non-linear distributed lag models, while controlling for season and long-term trends. 
Results: Relatively high temperatures were positively associated with infection risk in Auckland (n=3,073) and Christchurch (n=880), although the former showed evidence of a more immediate relationship with exposure to high temperatures. There was no significant association between temperature and salmonellosis risk in Wellington.
Conclusions: Projected increases in temperature with climate change may have localised health impacts, suggesting that preventative measures will need to be region-specific. This evidence contributes to the increasing concern over the public health impacts of climate change.

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