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A large scientific seminar has been held in Moscow. It was organized by the Russian academy of medical sciences and the Russian academy of sciences with participation of specialists from the Russian Ministry of Health and Social Development, Ministry of Natural Resources, World Health Organization, World Bank, World Wildlife Fund, Nature Protection, a NGO from the USA, and the Russian regional ecological center. The seminar focused on consequences of the global warming. The issue of the global warming consequences appears to be on top of the agenda of many scientific discussions these days. Economic aspects of the problem and those pertaining to nature protection and technology are among the most frequently debated ones. The health of population, a very important part of the ecological balance, is sometimes left out of the spotlight. It depends on a comfortable environment and climatic balance.

According to WHO, 25.5 thousand people died due to extremely hot temperatures ravaging Europe last summer. France paid the highest price: nearly 15 thousand people were killed by thermoplegia. About 2,000 Britons were also among the casualties. The death toll directly related to the effects of the heat stroke is rising. Besides, the summer heat is a hotbed of other dangerous conditions, such as dehydration which leads to a kidney failure.

The average mean temperatures around the globe rose by 0.6 degree over the past few years. It?s just zilch as far as daily temperatures? fluctuations are concerned yet it does make a difference to issues relating to the global temperature situation. A 2-degree rise in mean temperatures will lead to mass extinction of the species. Igor Mokhov, corresponding member of the Russian academy of sciences, says that the last 20 years broke the temperature record. The period saw a 3-time increase in the temperature growth. The global warming hit the coldest parts of the world with the maximum amount of ice, namely Siberia, Alaska, and Antarctica. The total average warming effect is 10 times stronger in Siberia than anywhere else in the planet. According to estimates of Alexander Golub, professor with Moscow?s Higher School of Economics, the global warming in Siberia is particularly dangerous in terms of economics since permafrost stands for 60% of all Russian territory. The global warming is likely to disrupt the operations of oil pipelines thus causing damages worth of millions of dollars. It?s also sure to cause subsidence problems to towns located in the area. The average mean temperatures rose up 3.5 degrees over the last hundred years in some parts of Siberia and Russian Far East. The weakening of the forest is behind a higher fire rate of the taiga which is pillaged by pests running wild due to ecological imbalance.

According to Michael McGreen and Maria Mirabeli from American center for disease control and prevention, a mortality rate jumps 85% due to summer heat while the number of persons taken to hospitals goes up by 11%. Many a victim of the heat stroke dies the following year due to dysfunction of internal organs. Patients with cardiovascular, respiration and nervous system conditions run the highest risks. Uptown residents die at a higher rate than those living in the outskirts. A death rate of the dark-skinned population is 50% more than that of the white people with higher social standing.

The developing nations of the world face challenges due to an increase in infectious diseases. High temperatures and humidity trigger off the spread of dysentery and other numerous infections propagated by water. The infections transmitted by rats and insects spread faster in the hot weather e.g. malaria, yellow fever and Lyme disease. Tropical rains bring about ponds and lakes filled with still water that?s a perfect medium of the malarial mosquito. Africa is hit hardest by malaria. Many areas there that were largely unfit for malarial mosquitoes in the past are now being affected by occasional outbreaks of the disease. The contamination of fresh water and food is caused by heavy rains and frequent droughts inherent to a climate imbalance. The findings of a study conducted in Peru show that a 1-degree increase of winter temperatures can cause a 12% rise in the number of patients suffering from diarrhea while the same temperature increase in summer can bring about a 4% rise in the number of diarrhea patients.

It?s just naive to believe that Russia is immune to the problems caused by the climate change. According to Boris Revich, doctor of medical sciences from the Institute of national economy forecasting of the Russian academy of sciences, some diseases strike Russia more frequently now e.g. a typhoid fever incidence rose 8.3% in Russia while malaria rates jumped 6 times. There was even a number of outbreaks of such a rare disease as White Nile fever. Viral encephalitis spread aggressively to some parts of Russia that had been free of the disease before. Scientists established a link between the climate change and the spread of most dangerous infections including anthrax, plague, cholera. The onslaught of cholera appears especially ominous. It?s been going on for 40 years marked by a dramatic increase in temperatures. The latest officially confirmed epidemic of cholera in Russia took place in 21st century, in 2001 in the city of Kazan.

Scientists have been so far incapable of measuring precisely how much each factor impacts the homeostasis i.e. balance of complex systems. No one is able to define an exact degree of involvement of an anthropogenic factor in the developments or how much is the damage done by man-made technologies to the planet. The periods of the global warming occurred before, dinosaurs went into extinction without any human-related activities. Anyway, we shouldn?t stay idle waiting until clear scientific evidence has been produced, as Viktor Danilov-Danilyan put it. He?s a director of the Institute of water studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a corresponding member of above academy. Scientists shouldn?t waste no time so that the human race may be adequately prepared prior to any irreversible changes in the global climate going out of control.

A postmortem is the best way of determining the cause of disease or so they say.
Still, people would rather take preventive measures and get some treatment than wait for an anatomical pathologist to knock at their doors.


© Рудаков В.Г. - NEKTO 2009г.

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