Global warming is bringing previously defeated diseases like malaria and other fatal tropical illnesses back to Europe. Italy is at the front of the firing line, according to a new report by environmental association Legambiente. ‘We are at the southern edge of the globe’s temperate area and that’s why Italy is being hit hardest by recent dramatic climatic changes,’ said Legambiente chief Francesco Ferrante. ‘As a result, we are importing illnesses from Africa,’ said Ferrante, who is an MP in the centre-left governing coalition.
The report pointed out that increasingly frequent heat waves in Europe are raising fatality rates as well. Between July and September 2003, for example, when temperatures in Italy were 4 to 5 degrees above the seasonal average, the number of deaths increased 14.5 percent from the previous year.