Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Climate change adding sting to mosquito bite, says WHO report

The Economic Times (India): The warning is ominous — climate change and global warming will make vector-borne diseases like dengue and malaria - already causing havoc in the country more lethal. A landmark report on climate change and health, published by the World Health Organization on Monday, said that in the last 100 years, the world has warmed by approximately 0.75 degree Celsius. Over the last 25 years, the rate of global warming has accelerated, at over 0.18 degree Celsius per decade. Global health will suffer a loss of $2 billion-$4 billion per year by 2030 due to climate change.

Global warming, which has occurred since the 1970s, caused over 1.4 lakh excess deaths annually by 2004. "Many of the major killers such as diarrhoeal diseases, malnutrition, malaria and dengue are highly climate-sensitive and are expected to worsen as the climate changes," said WHO.

It added, "Malaria is strongly influenced by climate. Transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes, malaria kills almost one million people every year. The Aedes mosquito vector of dengue is also highly sensitive to climate conditions. Studies suggest that climate change could expose an additional 2 billion people to dengue transmission by the 2080s."

WHO said over the last century, the surface area on which malaria remains a risk has been reduced from half to a quarter of the earth's landmass, but due to demographic changes the number of people exposed to malaria has increased substantially over the same period….

A World War II-era anti-malaria poster from the US

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