Oceans and human health

The oceans, as a source of food, recreation and medicine, affect human health in a variety of ways. For example, exposure to or ingestion of pathogenic microbes, pollution, or algal toxins can cause human illness. Conversely, the oceans benefit human health as a source of overall well-being and new medications.

Studying and understanding the ocean is crucial for maximizing ocean health benefits and reducing health risks. Ocean observations help policy makers and managers develop strategies to respond to and manage public health threats. Observations also help promote sustainable interactions with our oceans and coasts and help scientists discover new ocean derived pharmaceuticals.


Blue Planet Activities

Water-associated Diseases Working Group

    Several million cases of water-associated disease are reported globally each year from water-borne or vector-borne pathogens. A large number of cases may be avoided through improved access to clean water and sanitation, and more cases could be prevented by improving prediction of disease outbreaks and health risks, using an integrated approach involving in-situ […]


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