Climate change will further spread of wildlife-to-human diseases, says report
Climate change is likely to further the spread of a “deadly dozen” diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans, says a new report from the Wildlife Conservation Society. The nasties: avian flu, babesiosis, cholera, Ebola, Lyme disease, parasites, plague, red tide, Rift Valley fever, sleeping sickness, tuberculosis, and yellow fever. Whee! “The term ‘climate change’ conjures images of melting ice caps and rising sea levels that threaten coastal cities and nations,” says WCS head Steven Sanderson, “but just as important is how increasing temperatures and fluctuating precipitation levels will change the distribution of dangerous pathogens.” The spread of disease could impact human, wildlife, and economic health, says the report, which suggests that wildlife be better monitored to track the spread of disease. Tasmanian devils and amphibians are, sadly, currently providing excellent case studies.