February 28, 2007
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Published July 1988 through June 1999
FROM VOLUME 12, NUMBER 3, MARCH 1999
Health Effects of Extreme Weather
the Feb. 16, 1999, news story Extreme Weather's Effect on Health
Measured, the Environmental News Network quoted Paul Epstein of
Harvard Medical Schools Center for Health and the Global Environment
as saying, "If the primary manifestation of climate change is more
severe and unstable weather, then we have begun to see firsthand how a
changing climate impacts our health and the international economy."
He said this as he and other scientists linked the past year's extreme
weather to outbreaks of infectious diseases:
- Large increases in the incidence of malaria, Rift Valley fever, and
cholera in East Africa after extensive flooding;
- Respiratory illnesses caused by prolonged drought-produced wildfires
in Southeast Asia; and
- Increased cholera, dengue fever, and malaria in Central America
after Hurricane Mitch.
This correlation has spurred epidemiologists to track climate
variability and related infectious disease outbreaks with such tools as
satellite remote sensing and mathematical modeling. Epstein also voiced
the hope that recognition of this link between extreme weather and disease
will encourage medical professionals to initiate programs for preventing
or minimizing such weather-related health problems.
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