10 facts on climate change and health

October 2012

Children bathe near Karabache, in the Russian Federation.
Fedephoto/Ahmet Sel

Overwhelming evidence shows that human activities are affecting the global climate. Climate change has serious implications for public health. Extreme weather events, variable climates that affect food and water supplies, ecosystem changes are all associated with global warming and pose health risks.

Climate and weather already exert strong influences on health: increased deaths in heat waves, and in natural disasters such as floods, as well as changing patterns of life-threatening vector-borne diseases such as malaria and other existing and emerging infectious diseases are observed.

Continuing climate change will affect, in profoundly adverse ways, some of the social and environmental determinants of health: food, air and water, according to WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. Areas with weak health infrastructure – mostly in developing countries - will be the least able to cope without assistance to prepare and respond.

This fact file describes current and projected effects of climate change on health.

Read more about climate change and health

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