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Changing climate conditions, and in particular higher temperatures and heatwaves, pose multiple threats to human health and well-being in Europe.
The EEA report on Climate change as a threat to health and well-being in Europe: focus on heat and infectious diseases outlines the threat posed by prolonged high temperatures showing how these lead to a larger number of fatalities and reduced labour productivity. Higher proportions of death from cardiac and respiratory diseases are recorded during heatwaves, especially amongst vulnerable groups, and the impact is exacerbated by the urban heat island effect.
Climate-sensitive infectious diseases are another emerging threat. Climate conditions are becoming more suitable for the emergence and transmission of climate-sensitive infectious diseases like malaria, dengue fever or West Nile fever, also expanding the risk of transmission to previously unaffected areas of Europe. The longer transmission season and wider distribution of carriers increase local outbreaks.
Adequate and immediate measures are needed to reduce heat health impacts.