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Global Warming and its Effects on Human Health Throughout the World in the 21st Century


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Title: Global Warming and its Effects on Human Health Throughout the World in the 21st Century

Global Warming and its Effects on Human Health
Throughout the World in the 21st Century

Solutions to the problems faced by physicians
will be fruitless if we ignore the health perils
posed by global climate change. -Gerald O'Hanley
What is Global Warming?
Definition An increase in the Earths average
Atmospheric Temperature that in turn causes
corresponding Changes in the Climate.
Factors That Contribute to Global Warming
University of Michigan
  • Major Carbon Dioxide (CO2)Emissions from
  • Cars
  • Power Plants
  • Airplanes
  • Building Structures

In 1996 motorists in Los Angeles and New York
City wasted 600 Million gallons of gas sitting in
traffic, which is the equivalent to 7.5 million
tons of CO2 2
University of Michigan
University of Michigan
  • Major Methane (CH4) Emissions from
  • Rice Paddies
  • Bovine Flatulence
  • Fossil Fuel Production

Deforestation through the burning of the dense
The Amazon Rainforest, which spans 7 million Km2
over 9 different countries, stores at least 75
billion tons of Carbon in the trees and other
green plants. 9
  • Major Deforestation
  • Decrease in photosynthesis (less CO2 removed from
    environment) and an increase in CO2 due to
    deforestation burning 2

The Green House Effect
What are the Major Effects of Global Warming on
Human Health in the 21st Century?
Increase in Vector-Borne Diseases
  • Vector Organisms Include
  • Insects
  • Rodents
  • Snails

Brown University
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Mice are common vectors for the plague in
infected areas
                                   An Anopheles
mosquito takes blood from a human host. This
mosquito is a vector for malaria.
  • Vector-Borne Diseases Include
  • Malaria
  • Dengue fever
  • Yellow fever
  • Plague
  • Various forms of viral encephalitis 6

  • The Plasmodium Vivax parasite carried by the
    Anopheles mosquito (as the vector) is an organism
    which has the ability to cause malaria infections
    in humans 7
  • The Anopheles Mosquito
  • Very sensitive to shifts in temperature
  • Generally do not reproduce below temperatures of
    about 16C 10
  • With an increase in temperature accompanied by a
    sufficient amount of moisture
  • Increase in quantity of mosquitoes
  • Increase in biting rates/activity levels
  • Acceleration of the incubation phase of the
    parasites (Plasmodium Vivax) and viruses inside
    the mosquito

Anopheles mosquito injecting the parasite
Plasmodium Vivax into its victim
Current Malaria Situation
Predictions of the Spread of Malaria by 2020
Pim Martens, Maastricht University
Warmer temperatures with increased moisture will
expand the geographical range of the vector
organisms to areas of higher altitude and
latitude, which increases the zone of possible
transmission for many vector-borne diseases.
Ramifications from the Spread of Malaria
  • Current malaria-free areas that would be affected
    would have little or no defense against the
    infection due to lack of experience
  • Slight variation in temperature can result in a
    rapid reduction in the number of days required
    for incubation
  • These factors would result in
  • Widespread high levels of sickness and death
  • Global warming has the potential to place as much
    as 65 of the worlds total population at risk of
    infection due to malaria 5

Dengue Fever
  • A mosquito borne disease that has no known

Similar to Malaria
  • The geographical range of the infected mosquitoes
    are limited by variances in temperature
  • The strain hemorrhagic dengue fever is often
  • Physicians in U.S other probable areas where it
    is expected to spread have minimal experience
    diagnosing or treating the infection
  • An increase in temperature will lead to an
    increase in the geographical range

World Health Organization
  • The biting rate time the parasite spends in
    incubation inside the mosquito are accelerated
    with an increase in temperature 3

U.S. National Library of Medicine
World Health Organization
Climatic factors influencing the range and
propagation of vector-borne and water-borne
diseases, and the probable human impacts of these
diseases as a result of climatic change by 2050.
It is predicted that by 2050 approximately 5,
925, 000, 000 People at risk to these infectious
diseases World Wide 1
Increase of Water-Borne Diseases
  • An increase in sea surface temperatures can lead
    to an increasing abundance of water-borne
    infections and diseases such as cholera 8.

University of Wisconsin
The Vibrio Cholerae parasite
  • Is an intense diarrheal disease
  • Zooplankton serve as reservoirs for the parasite
    Vibrio Cholerae
  • Due to the consumption of contaminated water or
    food containing the Vibrio Cholerae parasite
  • When the seas surface temperature increases, an
    enhancement of plankton blooms occurs around the
    costal regions
  • The cholera toxin produced by the Vibrio
    Cholerae, attacks the mucous lining of the small
    intestine triggering the onset of massive
  • This in turn gives zooplankton the ability to
    transmit this disease to other organisms, in
    particular humans, through contaminated drinking

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
A costal plankton bloom
It is possible that over 1 billion people in over
30 countries 1 will not have an available clean
water source if the issue of water quality
continues in the years to come.
Increase in Direct Effects of Global Warming
National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration
Air Pollution-Related Illness
  • In densely populated urban areas, low-level ozone
    will continue to form

Flooding due to Hurricane Katrina
  • Ozone is a highly corrosive gas that has the
    ability to aggravate or damage lung tissue in the
    respiratory system and induce eye irritation 1

  • Increase in malnutrition and famine due to
    decrease in crop production, especially third
    world countries
  • A rise in sea level will lead to major flooding
    of costal regions
  • An increase of mortality due to both
    cardiovascular disease and respiratory disease
    will occur
  • Leading to large-scale migrations inland
  • Children in particular, will suffer the most as
    they are more susceptible to malnutrition 4
  • Concentrating diseases and viruses into smaller
    areas with increased population densities
  • Potential to trigger rapidly spreading outbreaks
    of various diseases 4
  • Heat related illnesses will become more frequent
    due to major heat waves, which will in particular
    affect the elderly

Chicago heat wave
What needs to be done to combat the Health Issues
Humans will Face in the 21st Century due to the
Onset of Global Warming
Health News Stat
1. Health care of humans must be put at
the Forefront of climate change as humans will be
the species most directly at risk to global
2. Health Infrastructures must be in place in
order to deal with the onset of various diseases,
Especially in third world countries.
3. The development of earlier warning systems for
outbreaks of ALL diseases, not just a select few,
and research into possible Vaccinations and
Treatments for these diseases must continue.
Nene Valley Medical Practice  
4. The already strong work on the elimination and
eradication through preventative chemotherapy of
many tropical diseases that plague third world
countries must continue forward Or Else these
diseases will have the potential to spread
northward effecting populations with very little
experience in combating these diseases. 3
Purdue University
1 Beniston, M. (2002). Climatic Change
Possible Impacts on Human Health. Swiss Medical
Weekly, vol. 132. Retrieved December 7, 2007 from
2002/25/smw10041.PDF 2 Causes of Global
Warming. Retrieved November 7, 2007 from
http// 3
Chan, M. (2007). Climate Change and Health
Preparing for Unprecedented Challenges. In World
Health Organization The 2007 David E. Barmes
Global Health Lecture. Retrieved December 17,
2007 from http//
speeches/2007/20071211_maryland/en/index.html 4
Committee on Environmental Health. (2007). Global
Climate Change and Childrens Health. Journal of
the American Academy of Pediatrics, vol. 120.
Retrieved December 17, 2007 from
/ peds.2007-2645v1 5 Global Warming Energy
Global Warming Impacts Infectious Disease.
Retrieved December 16, 2007 from
ase.asp 6 Khasnis, A.A. Nettleman, M.D.
(2007). Global Warming and Infectious Disease.
Archives of Medical Research vol. 36. Retrieved
December 20, 2007 from http//
/sites/entrezdbpubmed uid16216650cmdshowde
tailviewindexedgoogle 7 Maslin, M. (2002).
Global warming causes effects and the future.
Stillwater, MN Voyageur Press, Inc. 8 Patz, J.
(2002). A Human Disease Indicator for the Effects
of Recent Global Climate Change. In PNAS, vol.
99. Retrieved December 17, 2007 from
http// 9
Tesar, J. (1991). Global warming. New York
Blackbirch Graphics, Inc. 10 Union of Concerned
Scientists. (2005). Early Warning Signs
Spreading Disease. Retrieved December 15, 2007
from http//
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