17 Aug
Diseases Traced to Global Warming Diseases Traced to Global Warming

Diseases Traced to Global Warming

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As the debate continues about global warming, one issue has emerged that goes beyond melting glaciers and rising seas levels: Diseases -- some new and some long with us -- are starting to show up in regions of the world where they had never been imagined to exist.

When permafrost melts, pathogens that have been encased in ice for hundreds of years can be freed. Also, when temperatures heat up, mosquitoes that carry diseases can travel over greater distances, resulting in the spread of illnesses from tropical regions to traditionally colder climates.

LiveScience took a closer look at some of the diseases emerging on the threat horizon:

Anthrax: About a month ago, a herd of Siberian reindeer were hit with a wave of anthrax, which killed about 2,000 of the animals and affected a few people, as well. The source of the disease transmission was traced to a 75-year-old reindeer carcass which had recently thawed due to warming temperatures.

Zika: LiveScience quotes the University Center for Atmospheric Research as noting that "regions where global warming will cause drought might see an increase in A. aegypti mosquitoes [Zika carriers] if people start collecting rainwater for use around the yard."

Troublesome Ticks: Mosquitoes aren't the only ones considering a move as temperatures climb; ticks will likely migrate also, carrying their illnesses wherever they go. One disease that's showing up is babesiosis, a sometimes fatal disease that attacks red blood cells.

Cholera: Because this deadly malady spreads through contaminated water, warming temperatures could produce a rise in the water sources hospitable to the disease. One expert says, "I would put cholera highest on my list to worry about with respect to climate change."

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Read 2085 times Last modified on Sunday, 14 August 2016 10:47
Jim Lillie

Jim began writing for newspapers and designing for publishing companies at a time when both industries were just beginning to make the switch from manual to digital platforms. Jim lives in Boulder, Colorado with his teenage son.

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