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Gac Sanit. 2006 Mar;20 Suppl 1:160-74.

[Climatic change and public health: scenarios after the coming into force of the Kyoto Protocol].

[Article in Spanish]

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  • 1Unidad de Epidemiología y Estadística, Escuela Valenciana de Estudios en Salud, Conselleria de Sanitat, Generalitat Valenciana, Valencia, España.


According to the reports of the intergovernmental panel for climatic change (IPCC) human beings of the present and near future are going to experiment, in fact we are already experimenting, important changes in the world climate. Conscious of the magnitude of the problem, international organizations have taken a series of initiatives headed to stop the climatic change and to reduce its impact. This willingness has been shaped into the agreements established in the Kyoto protocol, where countries commit to reduce greenhouse-effect gas emissions. Kyoto protocol has come into force on February 16th 2005 with the support of 141 signing countries. Among the major worries are the effects which climatic change may have upon health, such as: 1) changes in the morbidity- mortality related to temperature; 2) Effects on health related with extreme meteorological events (tornados, storms, hurricanes and extreme raining); 3) Air pollution and increase of associated health effects; d) Diseases transmitted by food and water and 4) Infectious diseases transmitted by vectors and by rodents. Even if all the countries in the world committed to the Kyoto Protocol, some consequences of the climatic change will be inevitable; among them some will have a negative impact on health. It would be necessary to adapt a key response strategy to minimize the impacts of climatic change and to reduce, at minimum cost, its adverse effects on health. From the Public Health position, a relevant role can and must be played concerning the understanding of the risks for health of such climatic changes, the design of surveillance systems to evaluate possible impacts, and the establishment of systems to prevent or reduce damages as well as the identification and development of investigation needs.

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