This document was written to provide guidance for the Department of Communicable Diseases Surveillance and Response (CSR), the Department of Protection of the Human Environment (PHE) and the Roll Back Malaria Department (RBM) on the potential of early warning systems (EWS) based on climate variations to enhance global surveillance and response to epidemic-prone diseases.This document evaluates the potential of climate-based disease early warning as a means of improving preparedness for, and response to, epidemics. On the basis of the history of the development of EWS to date, the authors develop a conceptual framework for constructing and evaluating climate-based EWS. They identify the climate-sensitive diseases of major public health importance and review the current state of the art in climate-based modelling of these diseases, as well as future requirements and recommendations. This document lays the foundation for future development of EWS that capitalize on new knowledge about interactions between climate and infectious diseases, as well as improved capabilities for assessing vulnerability, monitoring the environment and climate and producing seasonal climate forecasts. It reviews the current state of development of EWS for a number of key infectious diseases.
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