Climate change could spark spread of disease

May 26, 2007 | Posted by: roboblogger | Full story: The Daily Times

“We could target it, rather than taking a shotgun approach.”

TORONTO - Will global warming bring malaria to Montana? Place your bets. Scientists attending a meeting here of the American Society for Microbiology won't make predictions, but they say changes in the ... via The Daily Times

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#1
May 28, 2007
 

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This is not news. It's bad news, just not "new" news. Many tropical diseases are on the move, as are new pesky insects that carry diseases and termites and ants too. Global warming will bite us in many ways.
mr Giblets

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#2
May 28, 2007
 

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Coolmind wrote:
This is not news. It's bad news, just not "new" news. Many tropical diseases are on the move, as are new pesky insects that carry diseases and termites and ants too. Global warming will bite us in many ways.
you tried to get this scare going before. Malaria was rampant in England in the 17th century, and Oliver Cromwell caught it in Cambridgeshire. Malaria is eradicated by draining swamplands , and by insecticides, not by cold weather.
microbodhisattva

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#3
Jul 12, 2007
 

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Although you make a good point in indicating that "malaria is eradicated by draining swamplands and use of insecticides, Coolmind's post is not just a scare. The Anopheles mosquito (main vector of malaria in Africa) is composed of a species complex with several different molecular and chromosomal forms. These mosquitoes are prevalent at certain times of the year (particularly during wet season, though some members of this species complex have been prevalent during the dry seasons). In Africa, the use of pesticides, in the form of spraying fields and bednets, has alleviated a lot of villages from the onslaught of malaria infection. However, this has also given rise the the knock-down resistance gene (a heavily study insecticide resistance gene that has arisen in some insects such as Drosophila). There are many behavioral and temporal aspects that we cannot determine without further research of both the vector and the parasite. Look at West Nile Virus, transmitted by Culex mosquitoes. In just a couple of years the virus, although not as prevalent as other viruses and somewhat under control, managed to spread from New York to California. And even if malaria does not spread to different countries (hopefully), there will be other microbes that may afflict us more severely due to climate change. In other words, we don't know what the full effects of a changing climate will be, but instead of shrugging off potential threats, we should invest research in better control methods and human screening of disease in order to prevent outbreaks.
Mr Giblets

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#4
Jul 13, 2007
 

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you can do all that, but don't be an idiot like Coolmind and blame the warming on us . If it is going to get hotter, and that is not even certain, it makes sense to take precautions - but hysteria about it being our fault, and the silly fantasy that we could affect it either way. is of no help at all.
Davis Riddle

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#5
Jul 13, 2007
 

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We know for a fact, prior to human industrialization (prior even to human discovery of fire) that the Earth was at one time so cold that the entire North American continental shelf was exposed (Florida was more than twice its size) and glaciers marched across much of the globe.

We also know that at one time, the Earth was so warm that the ocean levels rose high enough that much of the southeastern US was under water, which is why whale fossils can be found in northern Mississippi and Alabama, miles and miles away from the nearest marine body of water.

These are facts. We know that the early 20th century saw a mini ice-age.

Of course, if you wanted to reduce total green house gasses, you would completely ban the use of Organic agriculture, which is far less efficient requiring far greater land area (leading to deforestation)than modern agriculture. You would allow for the harvest of many over-mature forests (note I do not say old growth, which is something else) and reforest as only young, fast growing trees actually result in a net reduction of Co2. All plants perform respiration and in doing so, burn oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Old trees release as much CO2 as they consume in photosynthesis. Young tress produce more O2 than they consume and consume more CO2 than they produce.

We would also vastly increase dependence on nuclear energy and wind-turbine power (as well as hydro-electric) but NOT solar energy.

But then, all that effort would admit to the ultimate arrogance of man-caused climate change. For centuries, man thought he was the center of the universe. Then for a relatively short period of time, man realized he was not. Now, it seems, man has decided that he is, once again, the center of the universe, or at least the planet. Perhaps we will discover by consensus of a certain number of scientists but by no means all or even most, that the world is indeed flat.
Mr Giblets

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#6
Jul 15, 2007
 

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the biggest disease spread by climate change is a mental illness, mainly affecting liberals and lefties. The main agent of infection is the
Algoreopheles Mosquito, a nasty fat insect from Tennessee, where it lives in several homes at once. It is a bloodsucker, and swallows anything green.
microbodhisattva

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#7
Jul 17, 2007
 

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No Mr. Giblets, the biggest disease is ignorance and it is not caused by the "Algoreopheles mosquito" (very disrespectful to those in who have dealt and live with the problems in Africa caused by the Anopheles mosquito). It does not take a genius to realize that the effects of a changing climate will have an impact on the organisms. Diseases, like malaria, are OPPORTUNISTIC parasites. They exploit any and every aspect of the environment. Given that the climate is changing, which can no longer be denied (glaciers and lakes have been disappearing much faster than the best models have predicted, average temperature increases), there will be changes in the distributions of infectious diseases. We cannot be sure of the full effects of a changing climate, as I said before. But instead of voicing trite insults toward Al Gore and pretending that we can do nothing, I say we need to invest more resources to research the potential threats that may afflict us in the future, especially those caused by microorganisms. To sit and do nothing, even though a problem may never manifest, already put us at a disadvantage. Humans are as much a part of the environment as any other living organism. We do have an impact on our environment, and to say we don't separates us from nature. The truth is that we dump tons of carbon dioxide, toxic gases and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Can you say for sure, 100%, that this will not have some sort of impact? Sure, we are not the only cause of climate change. But this is beyond the scope of the present debate, which is not who is to blame for climate change. There are forums for that debate. The point is this Mr. Giblets. I don't think it is idiotic to prepare for such events. The way infectious diseases enter new localities has become enormously facilitated by a number of factors. Look at Andrew Speaker (the guy who had MDR-TB). He could easily have spread that strain of TB to the passengers on the plane and to anyone he was in contact with. What if H5N1 becomes a strain that can be transmitted from human to human? This is a very likely situation that can occur, as other bird flu viruses have done the same (look at the spanish flu H1N1 that killed 50-100 million between 1918 and 1919). There are more bacteria and other microorganisms on this planet than any other life form. They mutate quickly due to short cell cycles and can persist in even the most extreme environments. We simply do not know what the effects of a changing climate will have on these organisms. I'm just happy that you, Mr. Giblets, aren't in charge of deciding our policies, as you seem to just sit and complain about liberals who have at least tried to make efforts to improve the condition of life for people worldwide.
Mr Giblets

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#8
Jul 17, 2007
 

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what a lot of self-pitying whinging bollocks. If people had all been like you in the past, we would be all dead by now.
microbodhisattva

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#9
Jul 17, 2007
 

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Really, dead by now? How? I really expect you to answer that question. Does being prepared result in extinction? Apparently you seem to know so much about the causes of infectious disease, not to mention all possible outcomes due to selection, mutation, ecological influences,etc. All the research my lab has conducted and published in major journals, like Genetics, is all wrong according to Mr. Giblets. You obviously have no idea what the reality is. I'm sorry Mr. Giblets, but this isn't self-pitying. In fact, if you thought that my comments are self-pitying, you apparently cannot read and analyze text as you missed the point entirely. Let me reiterate for the THIRD time: Research needs to be conducted (dumbed down just for you Giblets). I don't understand how more research into any subject hurts us. It only builds our knowledge base. Is that self-pitying, to call for study? Maybe we should stop all research all together, just to satisfy your lax approach to life. Do you really think we shouldn't ask these questions? Fortunately, there are a lot of people like me out there who do intensive research on malaria and related topics. How much have you actually scrutinized the data on the issue? Have you even seen an actual research paper, not the ones in wikipedia? Or is this just self-denial on your part or for the sake of having the last word on the matter? Do you think that microorganisms aren't worth study? Without people like me all science is not possible. Next time you go to the doctors' offices remember all the people who actually died to get research underway to develop vaccines and other treatments for the conditions that afflict you. I don't want to just wait for malaria or other infectious diseases to come to us. My approach is an offensive approach, to plan ahead. So go ahead with your petty posts on how I'm such an over concerned liberal. But you have not brought up a single shred of evidence that suggests malaria or other infectious diseases will not extend outside their boundaries, nor have you even brought up any reason why we shouldn't conduct the research on the issue.

As I said before the Anopheles mosquito (one of the major vectors of malaria) is composed of a species complex that may either be undergoing speciation or intense gene flow between various forms (2 molecular S and M, S is further divided into chromosomal forms Savannah and Bamako, and M is further divided according to microsatellite analysis into Forest and Mopti) you can look up the research articles online or at a research library. Some of these mosquitoes are well-suited to the dry climates (M form), while others are well-suited to insecticide resistance, S form (may vary by country). I believe the effects of climate change may have some impact on the composition of this species complex, to what extent is not known. For all we know, the species could go extinct, but that is not to say it isn't worth studying. On the contrary, any aspect of malaria and other important diseases needs to be studied as much as possible.
Mr Giblets

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#10
Jul 18, 2007
 
be prepared, don't blame it all on the USA and Bush. Global warming is a natural phenonemon. No need to get emotional about it, be like the Dutch and build a sea wall.
Davis Riddle

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#11
Jul 18, 2007
 
Global Warming has existed long before man ever built his first cooking fire, as has global cooling. We know these things to be facts. I am amazed that these facts are ignored to such a high degree. It is as if the known ice ages are now a myth, just as the marine fossils found more than a hundred miles inland.

And by the way, while I do not treat the increase of disease lightly, increased malaria rates would not spell the end of society. In Italy during WWII, malaria was considered a childhood disease. Everyone got it. We will not go that far with our current abilities to control and fight disease. Yet it was that prevalent and yet Italy remains a nation merely 70 years later.
microbodhisattva

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#12
Jul 18, 2007
 
No one said anything about the end of society except for Giblets. Of course these diseases do not end society. But they sure have a huge impact. 50-100 million from 1918 and 1919. Is that an acceptable death count due to disease. Society did not end, yet a whole lot of lives did. These events from history, malaria in the UK and Italy, should indicate that we need to be ready for the next pandemic or outbreak, especially since we have present day medical technology as a basis for future research. Why should we wait for disease to strike us?


And sure warming has been around long before humans. It is a natural cycle, good point by Davis Riddle. Yet, all the gases we release into the atmosphere have some effect. We may not be the cause of global warming, but we could be catalysts. Regardless, whether you believe that the causes of contemporary climate change are due to humans or just natural cycles, we still have to cope with the struggles of life on earth.
commonman

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#13
Jul 18, 2007
 
Coolmind wrote:
This is not news. It's bad news, just not "new" news. Many tropical diseases are on the move, as are new pesky insects that carry diseases and termites and ants too. Global warming will bite us in many ways.
lets all leave our refrigerator doors open to cool things down!
commonman

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#14
Jul 18, 2007
 
microbodhisattva wrote:
No Mr. Giblets, the biggest disease is ignorance and it is not caused by the "Algoreopheles mosquito" (very disrespectful to those in who have dealt and live with the problems in Africa caused by the Anopheles mosquito). It does not take a genius to realize that the effects of a changing climate will have an impact on the organisms. Diseases, like malaria, are OPPORTUNISTIC parasites. They exploit any and every aspect of the environment. Given that the climate is changing, which can no longer be denied (glaciers and lakes have been disappearing much faster than the best models have predicted, average temperature increases), there will be changes in the distributions of infectious diseases. We cannot be sure of the full effects of a changing climate, as I said before. But instead of voicing trite insults toward Al Gore and pretending that we can do nothing, I say we need to invest more resources to research the potential threats that may afflict us in the future, especially those caused by microorganisms. To sit and do nothing, even though a problem may never manifest, already put us at a disadvantage. Humans are as much a part of the environment as any other living organism. We do have an impact on our environment, and to say we don't separates us from nature. The truth is that we dump tons of carbon dioxide, toxic gases and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Can you say for sure, 100%, that this will not have some sort of impact? Sure, we are not the only cause of climate change. But this is beyond the scope of the present debate, which is not who is to blame for climate change. There are forums for that debate. The point is this Mr. Giblets. I don't think it is idiotic to prepare for such events. The way infectious diseases enter new localities has become enormously facilitated by a number of factors. Look at Andrew Speaker (the guy who had MDR-TB). He could easily have spread that strain of TB to the passengers on the plane and to anyone he was in contact with. What if H5N1 becomes a strain that can be transmitted from human to human? This is a very likely situation that can occur, as other bird flu viruses have done the same (look at the spanish flu H1N1 that killed 50-100 million between 1918 and 1919). There are more bacteria and other microorganisms on this planet than any other life form. They mutate quickly due to short cell cycles and can persist in even the most extreme environments. We simply do not know what the effects of a changing climate will have on these organisms. I'm just happy that you, Mr. Giblets, aren't in charge of deciding our policies, as you seem to just sit and complain about liberals who have at least tried to make efforts to improve the condition of life for people worldwide.
before you try to change nature with all your expertise, why don't you take on a more easily won battle? say, world peace or something....if you're going to change the hearts of men, make them get along!
as for your support of liberals, not all liberals are bent on the betterment of mankind. try reading your history books with a more objective point of view!
Davis Riddle

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#15
Jul 18, 2007
 
If you refer to the Spanish Flu epidemic (I lost a great grandfather to it), that was not mosquito-borne.
Davis

Since: Jul 07

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#16
Jul 19, 2007
 
You all sound like a bunch of nervous mothers. Scientists will meet and discus this /then we can draw conclusions. Any of you ever worry about Malaria when you vacation in Sou. Fla.? Louisiana? Sou. Calif.? All are in the tropics, and you can't get much wetter than parts of Louisiana.
JFR22

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#17
Jul 19, 2007
 
I guess you can sit around worrying about the possible spread of tropical diseases due to climate change, but of course new diseases can threaten us in the absence climate change. Take the deadly West Nile virus for example, which is spreading across the globe in nontropical areas too cold for malaria.

I'm no expert on malaria, but from what I understand epidemics are largely a function of poverty and lack of reasonable public health measures. It's hard to imagine that that the problems in Africa would ocurr in developed countries.

Since: Jul 07

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#18
Jul 19, 2007
 
Right. That was my point. The conditions (moisture and temperature) are favorable in many parts of the country now, but we don't worry about it because we don't have 3rd world status.
Davis Riddle

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#19
Jul 19, 2007
 
The conditions are currently very favorable in my neck of the woods (Louisiana) and we do not have the problem. The climate in Florida, South Alabama, South Mississippi and Southern Louisiana is the same as it was 150 years ago, when malaria and yellow fever were problems. West nile can be a bit of a problem today, but not anywhere nere an epidemic. Malaria is nearly unheard of (we did get a malaria case in our town, but the fellow picked it up in Central America, not in the US.

Since: Jul 07

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#20
Jul 31, 2007
 
Key note: "The Society of Microbiology won't make predictions, but...."

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