Climate change could bring malaria and other diseases to Britain and trigger more frequent heat waves that will have huge health impacts, British doctors said.
With the exception of Lyme disease, insect-borne diseases are largely unknown in Britain. But global warming could change that in a few decades, according to a report from the British Medical Association (BMA).
"Higher temperatures and heavier rainfall may increase the spread of infections like malaria that have previously been virtually non-existent in the UK," the organisation's Head of Science and Ethics, Dr Vivienne Nathanson, said.
Hotter weather also poses a significant risk of an increase in skin cancers, sunburn and sunstroke.
The BMA said the state-run National Health Service needed to invest in prevention and treatment for serious health implications relating to climate change.
Around the world, scientists believe climate change could have potentially devastating consequences for human health.
A major study of the global risks by Tony McMichael of Australia's Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health concluded in January that climate change posed a more fundamental threat to health than the economy.
Michael predicted that between 20 million and 70 million more people were likely to be living in malarial regions worldwide by 2080. – (Reuters Health)
Global warming fuels disease