The U.S. is unprepared for the health impacts of climate change, according to a panel of scientists from universities, government and the private sector. They have called for sweeping improvements in planning, before it?s too late.

The U.S. is better prepared than less-developed nations for meeting the health needs expected to occur with future extreme weather events, but it needs more study of the link between climate and health. ?People still die in floods and heat waves,? says Jonathan Patz of Johns Hopkins University. ?We are not protecting everyone.? Scientists predict that in the decades to come, extreme weather events such as heat waves and heavy rainfalls will occur more frequently.

The panel identified several major concerns: heat-related illnesses and death, the health effects of extreme weather events such as floods and storms, water- and food-borne diseases, insect- and rodent-borne diseases and air pollution health effects. They recommend improving early-warning systems for severe weather and pollution and creating better community emergency plans.

Their recommendations are summarized at http://www.jhsph.edu/nationalassessment-health/.

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