Global warming-related heatwaves could kill thousands of Britons by 2013, a Health Protection Agency report has warned, and added that illnesses like malaria and Lyme disease could be a major cause of death.
According to The Sun, the report warned that by 2012, there will be a one-in-40 chance that the country's South East will suffer a serious heatwave causing 3,000 immediate heat-related deaths.
It also said that more deadly strains of mosquitoes in wetland areas could also cause malaria outbreaks. Lyme disease — carried by ticks — will become more common. Skin cancer rates too will soar due to increased sun exposure.
The number of people at high risk of flooding will more than double to 3.5million by 2100. There will also be up to 14,000 more cases of food poisoning a year, including salmonella.
It, however, added that winter deaths caused by extreme cold will decline.
"Climate change is likely to be one of the major challenges that humanity faces this century. It is important we assess the possible health impact and take any actions to minimise the consequences," Professor Robert Maynard, one of the authors of the report said.
The topic of climate change has had its share of controversy in the UK. In October last year, a parent tried to get former US Vice President Al Gore's environmental documentary -- An Inconvenient Truth -- banned from being shown in UK schools, but a High Court judge ruled it could be screened to pupils — provided that teachers stressed both sides of the argument.
The new report was published in full yesterday after some initial findings were released in May.
Gill Morgan, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: "Climate change will have profound implications for the NHS."