The global increase in temperatures favors the expansion of tropical diseases in the north of the planet, warns a study published by ‘Lancet Countdown’
The rise in thermometers gives wings to the insects responsible for dengue, chikungunya, zika and malaria
The world is now a degree warmer than a century ago And if humanity does nothing to prevent it, in the next hundred years the temperature could rise several degrees more. The advance of global warming, experts warn, is not only devastating ecosystems around the world. It has also become one of the greatest threats to human health. The global rise in temperatures increases the possibility of tropical disease outbreaks As the Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika in the north of the planet, Europe included, highlights the latest global radiography of ‘Lancet Countdown‘on climate crisis and health.
The study, presented this Thursday under the signature of 93 leading scientists from around the world, represents the umpteenth wake-up call to the rulers that in just a few weeks will meet at the Glasgow Climate Summit (COP26) to discuss the future of the fight against the climate crisis. “Every day that we delay responding to climate change, the situation becomes more serious. It is time to realize that no one is safe from the effects of this crisis”, exclama Maria Romanello, main author of this work where, for the sixth consecutive year, “the constant increase in the impact of climate change on health stands out.”
“Every day that we delay in responding to climate change, the situation becomes more serious”
As this new report highlights, the number of mosquitoes responsible for tropical diseases such as dengue or Zika has grown exponentially since at least the 1950s. Right now, in fact, it is estimated that there are 7% tiger mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus) y 13% more dengue mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) than 70 years ago. Common to hot, humid climates, these insects have found an opportunity with global warming to spread around the world and reach places that, just a century ago, were too cold for their survival.
The report also argues that global warming the possibility of malaria infections is increasing in high mountain areas of the global south where, until now, the conditions for the spread of this type of disease did not exist. Records show that number of months with suitable environmental factors for the transmission of malaria (Plasmodium falciparum) has increased by 39% since 1950.
The rise in thermometers is also making coasts of northern Europe and the United States become more conducive to proliferation of bacteria that produce gastroenteritis, severe wound infections, and sepsis. “Climate change threatens to reverse years of progress in public health and sustainable development. In low-resource countries, these dynamics put decades of progress toward controlling or eliminating these diseases at risk,” the study highlights.
“In low-income countries, these dynamics put decades of progress toward controlling these diseases at risk”
No adaptation plans
The growing threat of the climate crisis to human health collides with the lack of tools to mitigate the impact of this crisis. In fact, as this analysis reveals, only 45 of the 91 countries studied (52% of the total) have a plan for the evaluation and adaptation of health systems to climate change. Low-income countries once again stand out as the least prepared to face the health impact of the climate crisis and, in turn, also as the most exposed to the harshest consequences of this phenomenon. 69% of the regions that do not have a specific plan on health and the environment attribute this lack to the lack of financial and human resources.
The report is particularly concerned with this gap between global north and south. Experts illustrate this problem with something as current as that, after ten months of vaccines against covid-19, rich countries have already vaccinated more than 60% of their population while the poorest regions have only protected 3, 5% of yours. “This report exposes similar inequalities in climate change mitigation“, ditch the study.” The exit from the covid-19 pandemic offers an unprecedented opportunity to ensure a healthy future for all“, claim the experts.
On the eve of the start of the Glasgow Climate Summit, the scientific journal ‘The Lancet’ takes advantage of the publication of this emblematic report to remind that “COP26 is the last chance to stop the climate crisis“.” Our health is paying the price for inaction on climate change. The report of ‘Lancet Countdown‘shows us the extent to which our health is in danger. It also shows us how much we can gain from taking ambitious climate action: cleaner air, lower healthcare costs and a healthier and fairer society, “adds María Neira, World Health Organization (WHO).” The health case for climate action has never been clearer; What are we waiting for? “, Ditch.