The World Health Organization (WHO) and World Meteorological Organization (WMO) today released The Atlas of Health and Climate, aiming to provide scientific data on the connections between weather and climate and major health challenges, including infectious diseases.
Climate variability and extreme events such as floods can trigger epidemics of diarrheal diseases, malaria, dengue fever, and meningitis, the WHO said in a press release about the 68-page report.
"Stronger cooperation between the meteorological and health communities is essential to ensure that up-to-date, accurate and relevant information on weather and climate is integrated into public health management at international, national and local levels, WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in the release.
"This Atlas is an innovative and practical example of how we can work together to serve society."
Stronger climate services in countries where diseases like dengue and meningitis are endemic can help predict the onset, intensity, and duration of epidemics, the WHO said. For example, the report says, statistical models, based on correlations between climate and other environmental variables and dengue incidence in areas with good disease surveillance, can be used to predict dengue transmission in areas with weak surveillance.
The WHO said the atlas is being released at the World Meteorological Congress, which runs from today through Oct 31 in Geneva.