Limiting global warming levels can reduce dengue fever cases
If global warming levels can be limited, it can reduce cases of dengue and stop it from spreading to areas where incidence is currently low.Updated: May 29, 2018 12:29 IST
Global warming is a major concern around the world. But did you know that it can also have implications for your health and well-being?
Researchers from the University of East Anglia suggest that limiting global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius could avoid around 3.3 million cases of dengue fever per year in Latin America and the Caribbean alone.
The new report revealed that limiting warming to the goal of the UN Paris Agreement would also stop dengue spreading to areas where incidence is currently low. The Paris Climate Agreement aimed to hold global-mean temperature well below 2 degree Celsius and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels. A global warming trajectory of 3.7 degree Celsius could lead to an increase of up to 7.5 million additional cases per year by the middle of this century.
Dengue fever is a tropical disease caused by a virus that is spread by mosquitoes, with symptoms including fever, headache, muscle and joint pain. It infects around 390 million people worldwide each year, with an estimated 54 million cases in Latin America and the Caribbean. As the mosquitoes that carry and transmit the virus thrive in humid conditions, it is commonly found in areas with these weather conditions. There is no specific treatment or vaccine for dengue and, in rare cases, it can be lethal.
What the study shows
Lead researcher Felipe Colon-Gonzalez said, “There is growing concern about the potential impact of climate change on human health. While it is recognised that limiting warming to 1.5°C would have benefits for human health, the magnitude of these benefits remains mostly unquantified.”
The team studied clinical and laboratory-confirmed dengue reports in Latin America and used computer models to predict the impacts of warming under different climate scenarios. Brazil would benefit the most from limiting warming to 1.5 degree Celsius with up to half a million cases avoided per year by the 2050s and 1.4 million avoided cases per year by 2100.
The findings from the study are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
4 other harmful effects of global warming
* Heat waves
A study has shown that summer temperatures have gone up by more than 0.5 degrees Celsius on an average over five decades, and this rise has increased probability of heat wave deaths.
* Affects air, food and water
Climate variables can impact the quality of air, water, food, and determine where you can live or work. Climate change phenomena, be it heatwaves, floods and droughts, can cause deaths and displace people, damage infrastructure and reduce availability of food and water. This can lead to disease outbreaks and limit access to healthcare.
* It is making more people sick
The Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health, which represents more than half of US doctors, says that climate change is making people sick due to the rising levels of air pollution, increased water contamination, and a widening range for disease-carrying mosquitoes.
* Rice can become unhealthy.
Scientists have warned that as carbon dioxide levels rise due to burning of fossil fuels, rice will lose some of its protein and vitamin content, putting millions of people at risk of malnutrition. The report was published in the journal Science Advances.
(With inputs from ANI)
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First Published: May 29, 2018 12:26 IST