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Heat Waves Affecting Health: Report Suggests

The report of Lancelet Countdown on Health and Climate Change made by the international group of researchers has affirmed that climate change is upon us and it is affecting every aspect of our lives. The global report highlighted how the productivity of crops, food supplies and disease transmission are being affected due to this change. This report published just days after climate reports submitted by US government and United Nations showing that highest carbon emissions occurred in 2017 brings into focus the important of taking action now to reduce climate change. The report emphasized that populations in Europe and eastern part of Mediterranean region are the most vulnerable as it has large numbers of aging and urban populations.

The report estimated that 42 % of people over 65years in Europe and 43 % in east Mediterranean while 38 % of this age group on Africa and 34 % in Asia are all vulnerable to excess heat exposure. It elaborated that climate-related problems could impact public health leading to lower productivity, reduction in crop yields and the spread of communicable diseases like dengue and cholera. The report based on data collected by 27 global institutions comprising of universities and research centers was made by UN that collated the studies into a report.

During the heat-wave in 2017 around 157 million people were exposed to it on a global scale and 153 billion work hours were lost due to heat exposure. In the US frequent and long-lasting heat waves in subsequent years has led to increases in vector-borne diseases like Lyme disease and West Nile virus that tripled between 2004–2016. Researchers said that it is negatively affecting both high and low-income countries which was predicted to be happening in 2050 but is present now. The report analyzes 41 indicators to track a link between climate change and health in five groups namely: impact of climate change, health resilience, mitigation actions along with finance and engagement with the public.

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