Sunday, November 27, 2011

WNV and the public

A study published in Health Affairs found that climate change could cost more than $14 billion. This study examined 6 case studies of events related to climate change (i.e. hospitalization, premature deaths, injuries, etc). Most of the estimated health costs are due to premature deaths ($740 in health care costs) The researchers claim that the $14 estimate is most likely an underestimation and the actual health cost could be much greater.

In order to prevent such monumental health costs, researchers suggest reducing carbon emission and invest more money in climate change research and prevention strategies. Examples of climate change related events that contribute to the health care cost include: heat waves, hurricanes, infectious disease (WOOHOO!), wildfires, and river flooding.

I think this article is interesting because although most people know that anthropogenic climate changes are "bad" it's hard to conceptualize how bad it is. By putting a price on the related health costs, it will help mobilize prevention measures.

On a personal note, I picked this article because over Thanksgiving dinner, I met someone from LA who has a son in elementary school. She told me that some parents were protesting for the schools to close in order to prevent their kids from WNV (arbo virus) because they though it's transmitted through direct contact or respiration. It was really interesting to get her perspective on this climate related disease and realize how the public needs to be informed more about the diseases so it could be prevented in the appropriate manner.

-Michelle Jin

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