Climate change paves way for disease epidemics to return

VietNamNet Bridge - Unusual climate changes provide favorable conditions for diseases to break out, while some infectious diseases eliminated in the past are likely to return. 

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According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), human activities cause 95 percent of global warming, especially greenhouse gas emissions. 

Unusual climate changes provide favorable conditions for diseases to break out, while some infectious diseases eliminated in the past are likely to return. 

The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment of Vietnam (MONRE) have issued warnings about global warming in Vietnam. In 1958-2014, the average temperature in Vietnam increased by 0.62oC, while rainfall increased significantly in southern provinces (6.9-19.8 percent). The number of hot days within one year increased to 34 in the last 10 years and the number of typhoons has also increased considerably.

According to the Ministry of Health, climate change has had serious impact on people’s health. Tran Dac Phu, head of the Preventive Medicine Agency, said there was a close relationship between some types of diseases and climate change impact in recent years. 

In the Mekong Delta, for example, the increase of 1oC in temperature will lead to an increase of 3.4 percent of children hospitalized because of digestive and respiratory diseases.

A survey in Vinh City of Nghe An province showed that from June to September, the hottest months, the number of children hospitalized increased by 1.56 times compared with months from February to May. The number of children hospitalized because of respiratory diseases increased by 1.64 times. 

In HCMC, the number of old people hospitalized on days where there were heat waves increased by 12.9 percent.

In Thai Nguyen, the number of patients hospitalized because of cardiovascular diseases due to exposure to cold also increases significantly. 

For every 1oC decrease in temperature, the number of patients will increase by 1.12 times. For every 1oC rise for two to four weeks in the Mekong Delta, the number of patients with diarrhea will increase 1.5 percent.

A report of the MOH’s Environment Management Agency showed that warming over the globe has spurred the development of mosquito species and increased risk of dengue fever and malaria.

In Vietnam, about 3.5 million people catch infectious diseases every year and thousands of deaths are reported. The climate and environmental changes have been cited as the major reasons behind the newly emerged diseases and the comeback of old diseases. Some tropical diseases which had disappeared in many countries are now developing more intensely in Vietnam such as dengue and malaria.

WHO, predicting that 1.5-3.5 billion people in the world will face the risk of catching dengue by 2080 because of the global warming, has called on to take prompt actions to get adapted to the climate change. While more proofs about the environmental impacts on human health have been found, the investments to settle the problems remain inappropriate enough.


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Hoang Ha

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