News out of a conference of tropical health specialists in D.C. this week brings another warning about the perils of climate change: Increased incidence range of nasty diseases like dengue fever and yellow fever.
The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene meeting featured a presentation by Mary Hayden of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who had some sobering words:
There is concrete evidence that the global climate is changing, and these changes are expected to greatly impact human health as surface temperatures rise, agricultural belts shift, and extreme weather events become more commonplace.
It’s not exactly brand-new news. But the symposium in Washington signals a growing agreement among scientists who examine tropical diseases that the tropics and subtropics are likely to get hit the hardest by global warming.
We’re talking about some pretty gruesome deaths here, too. Dengue fever, for example, can cause vomiting of blood and bloody diarrhea and is also known as “breakbone fever.” Understand that this disease already has shown up on Key West, Florida, one of my old stomping grounds.
No lie. That bit was contained in a story on Hayden’s talk by Travis Martinez of the University of New Mexico/Talk Radio News Service. He goes on quote Hayden saying that Mexico has seen a 600 percent increase in dengue in the last four years. There is no vaccine.
Don’t forget that this increase in health problems is not limited to the tropics. People in temperate regions can look forward to additional heat deaths, for example. And don’t forget the fighting climate change is a way to stay healthier.