Global environmental health expert Dr Paul Epstein passed away on Sunday

On Sunday, Dr Paul Epstein, the first health expert to identify a link between climate change and the spread of infectious diseases, passed away at his home in Boston, USA.

From the early 1990s onwards, Dr Epstein published numerous studies exhibiting an association between algae blooms (caused by warming oceans) and spates of cholera; warmer temperatures and mosquito-caused encephalitis; coal burning and a worldwide asthma epidemic. By using other research published into the effects of climate change on the natural environment Dr Epstein found that these were often correlated with public health disasters.

Former Vice President of the USA, Al Gore, released a statement on Monday stating that Dr Epstein had a “…rare ability to communicate the subtleties and complexities of his field.” Dr Epstein’s death from lymphoma brings the concerns of sustainable healthcare, climate change and communicable diseases to the forefront of our minds and reminds us not to ‘rest on our laurels’ when it comes to both environmental health and public health.

A respiratory disease featuring attacks of breathlessness and wheezing due to inflammation and narrowing of the upper airways. There is often an allergic component. Full medical glossary
Inflammation of the brain. Full medical glossary
A sudden outbreak of infection that affects a large proportion of a population. Full medical glossary
An element present in haemoglobin in the red cells. Full medical glossary
A watery or milky bodily fluid containing lymphocytes, proteins and fats. Lymph accumulates outside the blood vessels in the intercellular spaces of the body tiisues and is collected by the vessels of the lymphatic system. Full medical glossary
A type of cancer that affects the lymph nodes, part of the immune system. Full medical glossary
septic arthritis Full medical glossary
One of a class of drugs that inhibit cholesterol formation in the liver. Full medical glossary