Sunday, April 3, 2011

Diseases linked to climate change in the Philippines

Manila Bulletin: Diseases caused by unusual changes in the weather are now on the rise, Sen. Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on climate change Sunday warned. According to Legarda, there had been at least 13, 821 patients in hospitals across the country that were afflicted with dengue from January to February this year. In Metro Manila alone, there were 3,640 dengue cases—a 106 percent increase from the figures cited by the Department of Health (DoH) in 2010.

“This rise in dengue cases is a cause for alarm, especially because our country is one of the most vulnerable to vector-borne diseases,” Legarda said. Legarda said that in a study by the Climate Vulnerability Monitor 2010, it is not disasters but diseases that cause the most deaths by climate change.

A report conducted by another international organization, Development Assistance Research Associates (DARA), she said had observed that though the Philippines’ climate and location naturally assist in the propagation of dengue-carrying mosquitoes, “higher temperatures and more humid climates caused by climate change favor the growth in the populations of insects and vectors that spread diseases.”

“Now more than ever, it is of utmost importance that we put more effort into the prevention and control of climate-related diseases, and enhance the DoH’s capacity for early warning for any outbreak,” Legarda emphasized…

A TEM micrograph showing Dengue virus virions (the cluster of dark dots near the center). From the Centers for Disease Control

No comments: