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Climate change may increase health risks

Heat waves will pose an increasing public health risk if nothing is done to tackle climate change, a report shows.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) and the Department of Health report takes into account the latest information and current predictions about climate change in the UK.

Research shows that increasing heat equates with a very slight chance that malaria could return to the South of England during the next 50-100 years.

If no action is taken to avoid significant climate change, by 2012 there is a one in 40 chance that 3,000 people will die of immediate heat-related deaths.

Tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease are likely to become more common while increased exposure to sunlight will lead to a rise in skin cancers.

Winter deaths will also continue to decline as the climate changes.

Expert Panel Chairman Robert Manyard from the HPA said: "Climate change is likely to be one of the major challenges that humanity faces this century.

"It is important that we assess the possible health impact and take any actions that could minimise the consequences.

"The publication of this report is a significant step in that process."


Department of Health

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