Climate change and public health

Many scientists are convinced that the effects of climate change on public health are substantial. Higher temperatures and heavier rainfall can cause more heat stress and lethal infectious diseases.

Nevertheless, more research is needed to draw clear-cut conclusions and tackle the problems.

Almost 15,000 more people died following a heat wave in France in 2003

The summer of 2003 is engraved in the memories of European scientists doing research into the effects of climate change on public health. The continuous heat caused enormous problems for the elderly as well as for people suffering from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Political commotion arose in France when it turned out that almost 15,000 more people had died as a consequence of the heat wave. In hindsight, public opinion claimed that politicians should have intervened. The mortality rates during the heat wave were also much higher than usual in other countries, such as the Netherlands and Germany. Not only do mortality rates rise during a heat wave. More people are admitted to hospital, physical discomfort increases particularly among the elderly and more people take sick leave from work read more ยป

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Article information

This is an abstract of an article, published in the magazine Deltas in times of climate change.

Author of this article
Jaco Boer


Dr Andrew K. Githeko
Centre for Global Health Research,Kenya Medical Research Institute

Prof Pim Martens
ICIS University of Maastricht

Ali Shafqat Akanda
Tufts University Medford USA