> The climate, with changes to increased risks of infectious diseases

The temperature increase due to pollution, and one of the themes that most concerned scientists regarding the effect on health, in particular the changes that may involve infectious diseases and contagions.

do Not è yet clear, at the time, the direction in which you address the possible ‘metamorphosis’. But nothing good, according to experts gathered at a General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in progress in Toronto, seems to appear on the horizon.

“climate change,” explains Stephen Morse, Columbia University – have always been linked to the arrival of new diseases and the ‘colonization’ of new lands by diseases of old date. In the presence of strong changes in the climate, we can certainly expect major surprises”.

Of the rest, the Fourth technical report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Ipcc), the Un body that deals with environmental change, is clear: global warming does not appear più as a vague threat in the distant future, but as a phenomenon that is già in  producing its effect.

“it’s difficult to predict how diseases and outbreaks will change – emphasize Morse – but one of the first signals is to be traced undoubtedly in the fact that malaria began to expand its radius of action”.

The mosquito ‘Anopheles gambiae’, i.e. those that transmit the disease to man, thanks to the increase in temperatures may in fact start to populate areas in the past prohibited for their very survival.

Changes there might be, then, in the so-called influence of the season, at least according to Joan Rose at Michigan State University. “The frequency, intensityà, , duration – stresses – could change significantly, così as the risks to the health.”

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The occurrence, also, of extreme weather events, more frequent and intense floods, wind storms, drought;  and heat waves – is likely to impact on the qualityà  of the water, with the increase of diarrhoeal diseases and other diseases related to food and water.

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Page published on 23 may 2007