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Item #d97dec66

A handful of health professionals have been warning that climate change could have serious impacts on human health by spreading diseases such as malaria and cholera to new areas. (See, for instance, the review article by Epstein in Prof. Pubs./Gen. Interest & Comentary, this issue, Dec. 1997.) But some leading infectious-disease experts have become sharply critical of these scenarios, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Research Council to assemble an expert panel on the issue. (See extensive news article in Science, pp. 1004-1006, Nov. 7, 1997.) NASA has also started a subcommittee on global change and human health. Critics say the real problem is not climate change but a collapse in public health measures, an increase in drug resistance in parasites, and an increase in pesticide resistance in vector populations.

A different connection between climate change and health has been explored by a group of researchers called the Working Group on Public Health & Fossil Fuel Combustion. They calculate the number of deaths that will be avoided under CO2 emissions reductions because those measures will also reduce particulate air pollution. (See article in The Lancet, Prof. Pubs./Climate Change Policy in this issue, and Science News, p. 292, Nov. 8.)

The Nov. 18 issue of Eos, Trans. Amer. Geophys Union previews a session at the AGU Fall Meeting on the links between climate variability and health, particularly with respect to El NiƱo (p. 524). A summary of the workshop Climate Changes and Human Health Linkages in the Tropical Americas (Belize, May 1997) begins on p. 508 of the Nov. 11 issue.

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