Africa is the most vulnerable place on the planet to the adverse effects of climate change. And so it is for infectious diseases. As writes Martin Enserink in this week’s Science, experts fear that the high HIV infection rates in many African countries, sub Saharan Africa might be hit the hardest by the 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus than any other continent. The virus has so far been detected in 16 African countries.
Enserick notes that “with HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria, and a host of other diseases competing for attention, influenza has never been high on most African countries' priority lists, and getting a handle on the spread of influenza viruses in Africa has long been problematic because laboratories and surveillance have been lacking”.