Climate change will fuel disease

Add another prediction to the list of devastating effects of global warming: Scientists say, it is almost certain that global warming will drive an uptick in waterborne diseases around the world. Heavier rainfalls are one of the broadly accepted effects of climate change, reports the Washington Post. More rain will lead to sewage overflows; contaminated drinking water and seafood; bacteria, parasite and algae blooms; and more disease-carrying mosquitoes.

The 950 U.S. cities and towns that have "combined sewer systems" will be hit especially hard. The out-dated storm water and sewage pipes will not be able to handle the volume of increased rainfalls, causing raw sewage to spill into waterways. Although upgrading combined sewer systems is an expensive process, experts feel it is an important disease-prevention strategy.

"It will be the next few years. This is not 20 years away," said Paul Epstein, associate director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School. "It's already occurring."

For more:
- read the full Washington Post article