Climate change could lead to more disease outbreaks, researchers say

It’s official: Climate change is at fault for everything but bad breath — and we give the bad breath thing about a month. The latest global malady that may be laid at the feet of greenhouse-gas-crazed weather is disease, specifically cholera, an infection that causes severe diarrhea, often resulting in dehydration, which leads to tens of thousands of deaths a year in the developing world. A new study in the journal Nature analyzes almost 40 years of records in Bangladesh and finds that outbreaks of cholera correspond tightly to periods of drought, high rainfall, or flooding — the very kinds of extreme weather global warming is expected to make more frequent. Though other factors — immunity, migration — are involved, “meteorological factors are dominant,” said Paul Epstein of Harvard Medical School’s Center for Health and the Global Environment. “It’s the extremes that are bad for our health.”