Climate stress and its impact on livestock health, farming livelihoods and antibiotic use in Karnataka, India

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Adam Eskdale , Mahmoud El Tholth, Jonathan Paul, Jayant Desphande, Jennifer Cole


Understanding the impact of climate change on livestock health is critical to safeguarding global food supplies and economies. Informed by ethnographic research with Indian farmers, veterinarians, and poultry industry representatives, we evidence that both precipitation and vapour pressure are key climate variables that relate to outbreaks of haemorrhagic septicaemia (HS), anthrax (AX), and black quarter (BQ) across the Indian state of Karnataka. We also identify temperature and maximum temperature to be negatively correlated with the same diseases, indicating that a cooling (but still hot) climate with wetter, humid conditions is a prime risk factor for future outbreaks. Principal component analyses have revealed the SW India monsoon and winter periods to be the most strongly correlated with HS, AX and BQ outbreaks. We identify vapour pressure, a proxy for humidity, as having a positive relationship with these specific livestock diseases. The negative relationship between temperature and these diseases, combined with the positive correlation with rainfall and humidity, allow us to classify climate-associated risk using a combination of gridded meteorological time series and epidemiological outbreak data covering the same region and timespan of 1987–2020.
Risk maps were constructed following concerns over the growing impact of climate pressures raised by farmers during ethnographic study. Informed by their insights, we used current climate data and future climate projections as a risk classification tool to assess how disease risk varies in Karnataka in the present and possible future scenarios. Despite a relatively limited epidemiological dataset, clear relationships between precipitation, vapour pressure, and temperature with HS, AX and BQ, along with outbreak high-risk zones were defined. This methodology can be replicated to investigate other diseases (including in humans and plants) and other regions, irrespective of scale, as long as the climate and epidemiological data cover similar time periods. This evidence highlights the need for greater consideration of climate change in One Health research and policy and puts forward a case for, we argue, greater alignment between UNFCCC and One Health policy, for example, within the Tripartite Agreement (between OIE, FOA and WHO) on antimicrobial resistance as disease risk cannot be considered independent of climate change.



Agriculture, Environmental Health and Protection, Other Earth Sciences


Epidemiological Modelling, climate, India, Bacterial Disease, Antibiotics, Antimicrobial Resistance, climate, India, Bacterial Disease, Antibiotics, Antimicrobial Resistance


Published: 2022-06-17 07:23

Last Updated: 2022-06-17 11:23


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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Conflict of interest statement:
The authors confirm that this study adhered to all relevant guidelines and obtained required approvals following the standards and guidance produced by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the World Association of Medical Editors and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.

Data Availability (Reason not available):
All meteorological data involved in this study were taken from the CRU 4.5 TS gridded dataset, hosted by CEDA. All epidemiological data used were collected from the NADRES v2 GIS platform hosted by NIVEDI. Both databases are online and publicly available (ICAR-NIVEDI, 2017; Centre for Environmental Analysis (CEDA), 2022).