Tuesday , December 1 2020

Does climate change affect diseases?

A few days ago, news reports reported the massive Hanta virus infection in southern Argentina. There are already 14 deceased and among them a Chilean woman. We have become accustomed to the fact that the authorities are currently calling for preventive measures every year, but little is said about the effects of climate change on sauces and, in particular, its effects on viruses and other microorganisms that you cause diseases.

Recent scientific data show that variations in humidity and temperature cause viruses, bacteria, mosquitoes to become more resistant or occur in areas where they were not previously found.

Chile has geographical, demographic and ecosystem characteristics that make it a particularly sensitive climate for climate change in health. Our country meets seven of the nine criteria for vulnerability to climate change established by the United Nations.

We have low altitude coastal areas; an extensive mountainous ecosystem of large, dry, semi-arid and forest areas; areas exposed to drought and desertification urban areas with atmospheric pollution and areas with potential expansion of hygiene vectors, such as the mouse bearing the Hanta virus.

The greater the frequency of so-called extreme weather conditions, such as Storms, floods, heat waves and droughts are one of the major consequences of climate change, which sooner or later affects the health of the population. Scientists and experts argue that these variations favor the emergence of new diseases and the resurgence of others who were deemed to have disappeared.

Changes in climate parameters, such as precipitation, humidity and temperature, can increase the incidence of some diseases that already exist in the country, facilitate the introduction of new diseases and exacerbate the impact of certain environmental variables on health.

For example, in the southern central zone, an increase in diseases transmitted by rodents and ticks, such as the Hanta virus and rabies, is expected in the major northern development of the development of vector diseases such as malaria and dengue, which is currently not found in Chile. .

Viruses such as dengue, zika or chikungunya are transmitted by mosquitoes, which, like any living organism, also alter their area of ​​activity, which is forced to migrate through changes in humidity and temperature in the environment.

Therefore, it is very important that we become aware that the sum of our usual behaviors has an impact on the environment. From the amount of water we use to the gases emitted by the vehicles we use to transport us, they have environmental impacts which, rather than later, will translate into new health problems for all Chileans.

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