Hot and Bothered
The warming of ocean waters seems to be an early warning sign that humans may be threatened by an epidemic, a team of earth scientists and infectious disease experts reported last week in the journal Science. The researchers found that higher temperatures in the Indian and Pacific Oceans increased rain in parts of Africa, and the rain flooded depressions where the Aedes mosquito lays its eggs. The mosquito is the primary means by which Rift Valley Fever, a viral infection dangerous to humans and domestic animals, is spread. As global warming increases, so will risks of weather-related disease, wrote Paul Epstein of Harvard’s Health and Global Environment Center in a commentary in this week’s Science.