Journalists are welcome to attend the Climate Change and Health symposium, which is arranged by the Institute of Environmental Medicine at Karolinska Institutet.
When: Monday 11 October 9.00 am – 4.30 pm
Where: The Nobel Forum, Nobels väg 1, Solna campus, Karolinska Institutet

The symposium’s keynote speakers will be available for interviews between 1 pm and 2 pm: Tony McMichael, The Australian National University; Paul Wilkinson, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; and Henning Rodhe, Stockholm University.

Extreme weather phenomena such as heat waves, hurricanes, floods, drought and forest fires are expected to increase in frequency as the mean global temperature rises. The danger of humanitarian disasters is also impending, especially in densely populated areas like the large Asian deltas. Already, more and more intense heat waves, like the one that claimed 30,000 lives in Europe in 2003, and ever more severe floods are being observed around the world. On the other hand, fatal hypothermia, frost-bite and other health effects of low temperatures will decrease as the winter climate grows milder.

The concentration of harmful particles and ground-level ozone will be affected by a change in climate. Pollen-producing plants, such as the strongly allergy-inducing ragweed, might spread to new areas and the onset of seasonal illness might change. Exposure to prolonged high temperatures causes health problems and mortality, particularly among elderly people with cardiovascular or pulmonary disorders. The risks vary considerably from place to place depending on how well people (physiologically or behaviourally) and buildings are adapted to higher exterior and interior temperatures.

With today’s more extensive transport networks, infectious agents and species are spreading more quickly around the globe. Some of them will thrive in new areas when the climate changes. Malaria mosquitoes have already been observed at higher altitudes in South America and Asia, and ticks are appearing at more northerly latitudes in Sweden. The first ever outbreak in Europe of tropical dengue fever was reported recently. Climate change also brings a greater risk of water and food-borne infections and of new diseases, such as vibriosis in Sweden.


For further information, contact:
Professor Göran Pershagen
Tel: +46 8 5248 7460, +46 7 0659 4479

Researcher Elisabet Lindgren
Tel: +46 8 5248 3373, +46 7 0717 7553

Press contact Anna Persson, head of public relations at the Department of Environmental Medicine
Tel: +46 8 5248 7505, +46 7 0658 7505

Press officer Sabina Bossi
Tel: +46 8 5248 6066, +46 7 0614 6066

Karolinska Institutet is one of the world’s leading medical universities. Its mission is to contribute to the improvement of human health through research and education. Karolinska Institutet accounts for over 40 per cent of the medical academic research conducted in Sweden, and offers the country’s broadest range of education in medicine and health sciences. Since 1901 the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has selected the Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine.