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University and state agencies to forecast local health effects of climate change
Date:9/24/2007

ms most likely to arise as a result of climate change in Washington state, which populations would be the most vulnerable, and what might be done to change the course of events. They will then look at the feasibility, effectiveness, and cost of potential interventions. They are working in partnership with the Human Health Preparation and Adaptation Work Group, chaired by Gregg Grunenfelder, assistant secretary for environmental health for the Washington State Department of Health.

A team led by Dr. Ann Marie Kimball, UW professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine and an expert on emerging diseases, will develop predictive models of the migration of disease-transmitting mammals, birds, insects, and parasites. Her team will forecast the speed of the spread of diseases such as malaria and West Nile Virus and their potential impact on Washington state. Dr. Katherine Carr, associate professor of family and child nursing and an expert on the effects of pollution on children, is looking at air quality and potential increases in lung disease and heart disease. Dr. Rich Fenske, professor of environmental and occupational health sciences, and director of the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center, will examine heat stroke and medical problems adults and children may experience in farming and ranching communities.

Gains that America and the world have made in public health could be swept away by climate change, according to Rosenblatt. Homo sapiens was a successful species after the last interglacial age, because the climate stabilized into one that was optimal for humans, Rosenblatt explained. A major climate shift in either direction, hot or cold, would take many people out of the range in which their bodies can perform normally and civilizations can thrive.

Another human characteristic, Rosenblatt pointed out, is that people are adept at addressing immediate emergencies, such as a bridge colla
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Contact: Leila Gray
leilag@u.washington.edu
206-685-0381
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert

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