Impacts of climate change on human health
Craig Baker-Austin, Carlos J. A. Campos, Andrew Turner, Wendy A. Higman and David Lees
Baker-Austin, C., Campos, C.J.A., Turner, A., Higman, W.A. and Lees, D. (2013) Impacts of climate change on human health, MCCIP Science Review 2013, 257-262, doi:10.14465/2013.arc27.257-262
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A growing body of evidence, including a combination of anecdotal reports as well as peer-reviewed scientific datasetsindicate that climate change-mediated health risks from the marine system may now be occurring in the UK. A keychallenge is disentangling the role of natural variability in contributing to these risks. Evidence, in this regard, includesthe observation that pathogenic vibrios are now being routinely isolated from the UK shellfish produce and waters,and that recent anomalous and extreme ‘once in a century’ precipitation patterns have decreased the microbiologicalquality of shellfish harvesting waters through CSO discharges. Projections for future health risks associated with themarine environment are difficult to accurately assess because they are complex, multifactorial and frequently basedon incomplete or short-term datasets. For example, the transmission of many climate change-mediated diseases aredetermined by a range of factors, including social, demographic, economic and ecological conditions, and intrinsichuman immunity (Semenza and Menne, 2009). However, increased confidence regarding GCM projection data,coupled to the integration of relevant epidemiological and environmental datasets will provide useful baseline datato assess future health risks.