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Sci Am. 2000 Aug;283(2):50-7.

Is global warming harmful to health?

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Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard Medical School, USA.



Projections from computer models predict that global warming will expand the incidence and distribution of many serious medical disorders. Global warming, aside from indirectly causing death by drowning or starvation, promotes by various means the emergence, resurgence, and spread of infectious diseases. This article addresses the health effects of global warming and disrupted climate patterns in detail. Among the greatest health concerns are diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, such as malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, and several kinds of encephalitis. Such disorders are projected to become increasingly prevalent because their insect carriers are very sensitive to meteorological conditions. In addition, floods and droughts resulting from global warming can each help trigger outbreaks by creating breeding grounds for insects whose desiccated eggs remain viable and hatch in still water. Other effects of global warming on health include the growth of opportunist populations and the increase of the incidence of waterborne diseases because of lack of clean water. In view of this, several steps are cited in order to facilitate the successful management of the dangers of global warming.

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