CLINF: Climate-change effects on the epidemiology of infectious diseases and the impacts on Northern societies

The key objective of this project is to clarify the impacts of climate change on the geographical distribution and epidemiology of CSIs. We aim to turn this new understanding into practical tools for decision-makers responsible for the development of northern societies.

Short project background:

Climate change may increase the need for supplementary feeding of reindeer, which may facilitate the spread of infectious diseases. Foto: Morten Tryland

Climate warming is occurring at a greater speed and magnitude in the Arctic than in the rest of the world. The effects are strongest in northern communities which depend on use of natural resources, where observations show that climate change is affecting people, animals and the environment. Earth System Models predict that temperatures will continue to increase in the near- and long-term future, with impacts bringing both challenges and opportunities for local communities. A large knowledge gap still exists regarding how climate change affects climate sensitive infections (CSIs) in humans and animals. CSIs are defined as infections that depend on the natural environment for their spread or persistence, e.g. their transmission to a new host or species uses arthropod vectors, water or soil, or have wildlife reservoirs. CLINF consists of an international interdisciplinary team of natural and social scientists; climatologists, ecologists, veterinarians, animal scientists, experts on human health, biologists, economists, anthropologists, sociologists and social philosophers. The key objective is to clarify the impacts of climate change on the geographical distribution and epidemiology of CSIs. We further aim to turn this new

The reindeer herpesvirus (CvHV2) is a causative agent of infectious keratoconjunctivitis, that may cause severe infections, blindness and mortality, especially among reindeer calves during corralling and feeding. Foto: Morten Tryland
understanding into practical tools for decision-makers responsible for the development of northern societies.

The contribution from Arctic infection Biology (AIB):

AIB is, through the funding through CLINF and additional funding from FRAM Centre (see separate project description) contributing with relevant sample materials from semi-domesticated (Norway) and wild (Iceland) reindeer (Rangifer t. tarandus). In Norway, samples are collected from three herds over two consecutive years, from Tana (Finnmark), Hattfjelldal (Nordland) and Røros (Trøndelag). On Iceland, samples are collected during the hunt in North-Eastern Iceland for three consecutive hunting seasons. Some of the laboratory analyses for the presence of reindeer pathogens are being conducted at UiT, and some in Sweden.

Funding: NordForsk - Nordic Centres of Excellence in Arctic Research.

Project leader: Birgitta Evengard, Umeå University, Sweden.

Project period: 2016-2020. Project leader UiT: Morten Tryland.


Ansvarlig for prosjektet: Morten Tryland