Global & Disaster Medicine

Archive for the ‘Climate Change’ Category

Drowning or sinking islands: the story of Kiritimati

BBC

“…….Intensifying storms and weather-related events have displaced an average of 24.1 million people every year around the world since 2008, and the World Bank estimates that another 143 million people will be displaced by 2050 in just three regions: sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America……..’

Locator Map for Kiribati

Pronounced "Ki-ris-mas," Kiritimati Island has a large infilled lagoon that gives it the largest land area of any atoll in the world. Captain Cook named the atoll Christmas Island when he arrived on Christmas Eve in 1777. Used for nuclear testing in the 1950s and 1960s, the island is now valued for its marine and wildlife resources. It is particularly important as a seabird nesting site, with an estimated 6 million birds using or breeding on the island, including several million Sooty Terns. Rainfall on Kiritimati is linked to El Nino patterns, with long droughts experienced between the wetter El Nino years. This image is a mosaic of four digital photographs taken on 16 January 2002 from the Space Station. Photo courtesy of NASA.

 


CDC: Climate Effects on Health

CDC

Climate Effects on Health

The information on health effects has been excerpted from the Third National Climate Assessment’s Health Chapterexternal icon. Additional information regarding the health effects of climate change and references to supporting literature can be found in the Health Chapter at http://www.globalchange.gov/engage/activities-products/NCA3/technical-inputsexternal icon.

Climate change, together with other natural and human-made health stressors, influences human health and disease in numerous ways. Some existing health threats will intensify and new health threats will emerge. Not everyone is equally at risk. Important considerations include age, economic resources, and location.

In the U.S., public health can be affected by disruptions of physical, biological, and ecological systems, including disturbances originating here and elsewhere. The health effects of these disruptions include increased respiratory and cardiovascular disease, injuries and premature deaths related to extreme weather events, changes in the prevalence and geographical distribution of food- and water-borne illnesses and other infectious diseases, and threats to mental health.

Air Pollution
Allergens
Diseases Carried by Vectors
Food and Waterborne Diarrheal Disease
Food Security
Mental Health and Stress-Related Disorders

NASA: New Map Shows Risk of Sunburn Across the U.S.

New Map Shows Risk of Sunburn Across the U.S.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, taking thousands of lives every year. By the age of 70, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer. Now NASA is helping public health officials track the primary cause of the disease: overexposure to ultraviolet radiation.

The NASA Applied Sciences Program has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to create the first publicly available map of ultraviolet (UV) radiation for all counties in the contiguous United States. The dataset, which spans 2005-2015, is available on the CDC’s National Environmental Public Health Tracking network, which delivers information and data about health issues related to environmental factors. Public health officials, city planners, or individuals concerned about Sun exposure can learn how much ultraviolet radiation is falling over each county each month, which is an important step in helping reduce skin cancer risks.

“Before this, there hasn’t been a true comprehensive exposure measure of UV radiation,” said Yang Liu, an associate professor at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. “People have been studying Sun exposure using very crude indicators. We’re looking at the specific UV wavelengths that can cause skin cancer.”

Although skin cancer is caused by ultraviolet radiation, different types of UV radiation can have different effects. The two that play an important role in skin cancer are UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays penetrate deeply into the skin to cause genetic damage to cells; UVA is linked to long-term skin damage such as wrinkles. UVB are the principal rays that cause sunburn and can directly damage the DNA in skin cells.

The maps on this page show the average amount of UV radiation per square meter reaching the surface in different parts of the country. Liu and his team used an equation to combine the various wavelengths of UV radiation to mimic the intensity of a sunburn—a measurement called the “erythemally weighted daily dose.” The researchers also gave more weight to more populated areas. For instance, the measurement is higher in more populated areas, which is helpful for studying the corresponding population health effects of high UV exposure.


C. auris may be the first example of a new fungal disease emerging from climate change

Arturo Casadevall, Dimitrios P. Kontoyiannis, Vincent Robert
Climate change health effects wheel graphic

Heat wave map of India-ERCC: 6/19/19

ECDM_20190619_India_Heatwave.png


U.S. coastal areas will require significant spending to ride out future storms and rising sea levels — not in decades, but now and in the very near future.

NYT

“……By 2040, simply providing basic storm-surge protection in the form of sea walls for all coastal cities with more than 25,000 residents will require at least $42 billion, according to new estimates from the Center for Climate Integrity, an environmental advocacy group. Expanding the list to include communities smaller than 25,000 people would increase that cost to more than $400 billion. …….”


Climate change: Vibrio vulnificus reaches Delaware Bay

CBS

“…..In the past two years, five cases of Vibrio vulnificus, a flesh-eating bacterial infection that is spread by handling or eating contaminated seafood, have been linked to Delaware Bay……

Vibrio vulnificus usually occurs in high-salinity, brackish waters with surface temperatures above 13 degrees Celsius, or 55 degrees Fahrenheit, the study says. It has typically been found in the warm waters of the Gulf Coast and southern states like Louisiana and Texas, especially during the months from May to October.

Vibrio vulnificus causes about 205 infections in the United States every year the CDC estimates. The CDC also said it is important to learn more about the harmful bacteria if you live in areas where hurricanes, storm surges and coastal flooding are possible. The most common cause of infection is eating raw or undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters…..”

King M, Rose L, Fraimow H, Nagori M, Danish M, Doktor K. Vibrio vulnificus Infections From a Previously Nonendemic Area. Ann Intern Med. [Epub ahead of print 18 June 2019] doi: 10.7326/L19-0133

A car driving through storm surge and flooding


One answer to climate change and the worsening human condition: Camel milk

TReuters

“……But the snorting beasts now have an additional benefit. They are being hailed for their ability to withstand climate-related droughts that are set to worsen in the Horn of Africa, where temperatures average above 30 degrees Celsius parts of the year.

Their milk has been dubbed “white gold” by food experts who say the creamy liquid could help conquer malnutrition, diabetes and other medical concerns, making it a tempting new superfood for health-conscious Western consumers.

With a growth in camel milk products available – from chocolate bars to baby milk formula and ice cream to “camelcino” coffees – there is a growing demand from consumers from North America to China, market experts say.

“If there is water scarcity, (camels) can go a month without water. Even when they are thirsty they can still produce milk – there is no downside to camels,” said Issack who uses money from milk sales to support his family…..

Camel milk is especially nutritious for young children and the elderly, she said, and selling it to passersby has allowed her to pay her debts and her children’s school fees.

The milk, commonly drunk in countries from the United Arab Emirates to Chad and Mongolia, has a vitamin C content three times as rich as cow’s milk, according to the FAO, and can benefit those who lack access to a varied and balanced diet.

“It’s widely claimed that there are lots of medicinal properties to the milk. It’s a different make-up of the proteins, carbohydrates and fatty acids,” said Simpkin.

“That’s what makes people claim that it’s much more nutritious.”………”


The Mauna Loa Observatory, which has measured the parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere since 1958, took a reading of 415.26ppm in the air on 11 May – thought to be the highest concentration since humans evolved.

Independent

Site: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo-search/study/6091

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/nature06949

Citation: Lüthi, D., M. Le Floch, B. Bereiter, T. Blunier, J.-M. Barnola, U. Siegenthaler, D. Raynaud, J. Jouzel, H. Fischer, K. Kawamura, and T.F. Stocker. 2008. High-resolution carbon dioxide concentration record 650,000-800,000 years before present. Nature, Vol. 453, pp. 379-382, 15 May 2008.


Costa Rica: Going “Green”

NYT

“……Costa Rica’s green bid, though fraught with challenges, has a head start. Electricity comes largely from renewable sources already — chiefly hydropower, but also wind, solar and geothermal energy. The country has doubled its forest cover in the last 30 years, after decades of deforestation, so that half of its land surface is now covered with trees. ……”


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