Climate change is linked to diseases

A Wildlife Conservation Society report has warned that rising temperatures due to global warming may increase the spread of a “deadly dozen” diseases, including avian flu and yellow fever, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Released at an environmental conference in Barcelona, the report stressed that even minor disturbances in global temperatures could increase the spread of disease in wild animals, which then may be passed on to humans. Governments were urged to better monitor wildlife heath in order to keep track of how pathogens may spread with climate change.

The diseases listed in the report included avian flu, tick-borne babesia, cholera, ebola, parasites, plague, lyme disease, red tides of algal blooms, Rift Valley fever, sleeping sickness, tuberculosis and yellow fever.

“The term ‘climate change’ conjures images of melting ice caps and rising sea levels that threaten coastal cities and nations,” said Steven Sanderson, who heads the New York-based conservation society, “but just as important is how increasing temperatures and fluctuating precipitation levels will change the distribution of dangerous pathogens.”

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