Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Malaria warning as UK becomes warmer
Breaking Earth NewsUKThe UK is to be hit by regular malaria outbreaks, fatal heatwaves and contaminated drinking water within five years because of global warming. Following a major consultation with climate change scientists, the Government is issuing official advice to hospitals, care homes and institutions for dealing with rising temperatures, increased flooding, gales and other major weather events. It warns that there is a high likelihood of a major heatwave, leading to as many as 10,000 deaths, hitting the UK by 2012. Hospitals are warned to prepare for outbreaks of malaria and tick-born viruses, as well as increased levels of skin cancer and deaths from asthma and other breathing conditions. "Malaria has been seen in these islands in the past, and it is not impossible that it will return regularly if the UK experiences more tropical temperatures and rain on the scale experienced last summer." In south-east England, the chance of a severe heatwave on this scale by 2012 is said to be one in 40, and "in conventional thinking about risks to health, a risk of one in 40 is high." Flooding is likely to have an impact on the safety of drinking water, with increased bacteria and algal blooms in reservoirs.