Tuesday 9 October 2007

It's getting hotter!

Weather expert turns up heat on the dangers of eating raw food

Temperatures this year have been the highest for the past 50 years, with the average temperature increasing by one degree Celsius according to the Thai Meteorological Department
Published on October 9, 2007

Chongkolnee Yusabye, director of the Meteorological Development Bureau, said that after monitoring the impact of global warming on Thailand for the past five years, the agency predicted that the impact of natural disasters would increase in future.

Chongkolnee was speaking at a seminar called "Life, shock, climate change: how to survive the impact of global warming", held to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Krungthep Turakij newspaper, which is part of the Nation Multimedia Group

She said the average temperature across the country had increased in both the winter and summer seasons.

The average temperature last November was the highest for 56 years, up by 1.7 degrees Celsius on the average temperature for winter. The average temperature last December increased from 24 degrees Celsius to 25 Celsius.

Between 1951 and 2007 the number of cool days - classified as below 16 degrees Celsius - has decreased particularly in Chiang Rai and Nakhon Sawan provinces. Information from a monitoring station in Chiang Rai province found that the number of cool days had decreased from 90 days in 1951 to 70 days in 2007.

Chongkolnee said that average summer temperatures had risen, especially in Tak province, where the average temperature was 43.7 degrees Celsius in 1983 and 44 Celsius last April. The number of hot days in the province increased from 16 to 25, the highest number for 54 years, over the same period.

The second hottest province was Phetchabun, where the average temperature rose from 41.7 Celsius in 1992 to 42.1 Celsius in 2007, and the number of hot days from 14 to 24.

The rising temperatures across the country have prompted health experts to warn the public against eating under-cooked food, which could cause severe diarrhoea.

Dr Thirawat Hemachudha, a neurologist at Chulalongkorn University Hospital, said the Public Health Ministry should issue regulations to prevent restaurants from serving semi-cooked dishes like spicy raw meat salad.

Rising temperatures could affect the life cycle of E coli and V cholerae bacteria, particularly in half-cooked dishes. These parasites can cause severe diarrhoea, Thirawat said.
"If the temperature increases by 0.5-1.5 degrees Celsius it can affect the nature of the parasite. It can reproduce more easily and thus come into contact with humans more frequently," he said.
He said restaurant owners should take responsibility for treatment cost if customers suffered diarrhoea after eating under-cooked dishes. But those who eat dishes that are traditionally served raw or semi-cooked had to bear the responsibility themselves.

Janjira Pongrai,
Duangkamol Sajirawattanakul,
Pongphon Sarnsamak

The Nation 09/10/07

No comments: