Climate change is thawing deadly diseases

An outbreak of anthrax in northern Russia, not seen in the Arctic since 1941, has been blamed on thawing due to global warming. Click here for the article. The meat of it is contained in this passage:

Earlier this month, an outbreak of anthrax in northern Russia caused the death of a 12-year-old boy and his grandmother and put 90 people in the hospital. …

Record-high temperatures melted Arctic permafrost and released deadly anthrax spores from a thawing carcass of a caribou that had been infected 75 years ago and had stayed frozen in limbo until now. This all suggests that it may not be easy to predict which populations will be most vulnerable to the health impacts of climate change.

Someone I know read this article and insisted global warming had nothing to do with the outbreak, since the caribou had contracted the disease 75 years ago.

To which we have to respond, “What part of ‘thaw’ didn’t you understand?”

The results of the damage we’re doing to our climate are varied and both more subtle and more pervasive than we imagined. We’d better take decisive and effective action.



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