Livestock infectious disease and climate change: A review of selected literature

Claire Heffernan*, Mo Salman, Luke York

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


It is indisputable that climate is an important factor in many livestock diseases. Nevertheless, our knowledge of the impact of climate change on livestock infectious diseases is much less certain. Therefore, the aim of the article is to conduct a systematic review of the literature on the topic utilizing available retrospective data and information. Across a corpus of 1 75 formal publications, limited empirical evidence was offered to underpin many of the main arguments. The literature reviewed was highly polarized and often inconsistent regarding what the future may hold. Historical explorations were rare. However, identifying past drivers to livestock disease may not fully capture the extent that new and unknown drivers will influence future change. As such, our current predictive capacity is low. We offer a number of recommendations to strengthen this capacity in the coming years. We conclude that our current approach to research on the topic is limiting and unlikely to yield sufficient, actionable evidence to inform future praxis. Therefore, we argue for the creation of a reflexive, knowledge-based system, underpinned by a collective intelligence framework to support the drawing of inferences across the literature.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11
JournalCAB Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Animal health
  • Climate change
  • Global warming
  • Infectious livestock disease
  • Systematic review


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