The Global Thaw is Releasing Ancient Viruses and Bacteria

Climate change is melting permafrost soils that have been frozen for thousands of years, and as the soils melt they are releasing ancient viruses and bacteria that, having lain dormant, are springing back to life.  Frozen permafrost soil is the perfect place for bacteria to remain alive for very long periods of time, perhaps as long as a million years. That means melting ice could potentially open a Pandora's box of diseases.

Bug-borne diseases tripled in 12 years
Between 2004 and 2016, there were more than 640,000 cases of illnesses spread by these blood-sucking pests, which carry pathogens including Lyme disease, West Nile virus, Dengue, Zika, chikungunya, and even the bubonic plague. In that same 13-year period, cases of these diseases tripled, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In the time period covered by the study, nine new diseases showed up in the US, including seven carried by ticks, and Zika and chikungunya, which are carried by mosquitoes. "The numbers on some of these diseases have gone to astronomical levels," reported an author of the study.

Lyme-bearing ticks thrive with the warming

Ticks, some of whom carry the pathogenic bacteria that causes Lyme, can now survive in environments where they would have frozen to death 30 years ago. The good news is that there's a lot of new research coming out about stopping and treating tick-borne illnesses, and a good new book that connects the dots between climate change, ticks, sick people, and policy.

Emotional health becoming a worldwide casualty of climate change
Experts are sounding the alarm about the more insidious effects of climate change: namely, that global warming is threatening the emotional health of humans worldwide.  Study after study shows that climate change has led to an increased burden of psychological disease and injury worldwide, particularly in developing countries.  For starters, climate change has normalized extreme weather events. These events, including floods, tornadoes, fires, drought, and sea level rise, are known to trigger mental health problems including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, the abuse of alcohol and drugs, and more.

Warm-winter ticks are killing moose calves in northeastern US
An insidious pest is killing about 70 percent of moose calves across Maine and New Hampshire, and their deadly work is being aided by warming temperatures and shorter winters that allow the parasites to survive longer, scientists believe. They are winter ticks, which attach themselves to a single moose by the tens of thousands. Adult females can expand to the size of a grape and engorge themselves with up to four milliliters of blood.

Thawing northlands set to release lethal diseases

Some of the severe infectious diseases that have threatened the planet in the past could be reactivated as our northernmost regions thaw. It’s not just climate scientists that are concerned about the health threats of a warming world. Public health experts and physicians are also speaking out. The Lancet Commission released a report in 2015 asserting that climate change could reverse the last 50 years of public health advances.

Experts see climate change prompting an increase in mental illness

Signs of mental distress related to climate change have appeared in vulnerable populations, from drought-stricken prairie farmers to isolated aboriginal communities and the scientists who crunch climate data. Our fast-changing climate has long been identified as a threat to physical health, but more psychologists are warning that the mental health impacts and the economic toll they take are real, likely to spread and need closer study. One study predicted that cases of mental and social disorders will rise steeply as the signs of climate change become clearer and more frequent -- including depressive and anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, substance abuse, suicides and widespread outbreaks of violence.

Higher temperatures are driving dengue epidemics in Southeast Asia
High temperatures are the driving factor behind massive dengue outbreaks in Southeast Asia, researchers have found. Though the infection waxes and wanes among many variables like human movement, rainfall, mosquito vector abundance and host immunity, heat emerged as the standout factor in large dengue epidemics. The World Health Organization reports that dengue infects 100 million people each year and infection rates have increased thirtyfold over the past 50 years.

Warmth is causing ticks to spread earlier and further
May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, devoted to reminding people who spend time in wooded areas to cover up. Otherwise, a bite from a black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis, a.k.a. a deer tick) could lead to joint and muscle pain — and in some cases, to chronic arthritis and even heart problems. But in a warming world, May is really too late to get people thinking about protecting themselves, said Richard Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y. “The nymphs used to peak in June,” he said, referring to immature ticks, which are most likely to transmit disease. “Now it’s happening in mid-May, and if you project forward with simple climate models, it’ll be early May within a couple of decades.” 

Kidney-stone increase tied to warming
Pediatric urologist Gregory Tasian and his team analyzed over 60,000 medical records of people with kidney stones in major cities throughout the U.S. They found was that people were more likely to develop the painful calcium deposits in their kidneys when average temperatures rose over 50 degrees. Many cases of kidney stones cropped up roughly three days after a hot day. Now that climate change means that some regions of the globe are heating up, it's likely that kidney stones will become even more common.

Humans absorbing both Mind and Body blows from climatic instability
Two reports released last week examined how the effects of climate change can deeply affect physical and psychological health, on both individual and communal levels. (The studies’ “effects of climate change” referred to trends in extreme weather events, food and water shortages, poor air quality, etc.). The first report is a survey of 284 physicians of color across 33 states on their experience treating people suffering as a direct or indirect result of climate change. A second report, which draws on the American Psychological Association, cites increasing mental health impacts from climate change.

Mental Health: a hidden casualty of a warming world
In the wake of increasing fires, storms and drought, the most profound wounds may occur in the human psyche, according to experts.  Mental health troubles are an insidious threat from climate change. Though less grisly than injuries and infections, mental illnesses can still be very costly. A report last week from the American Psychological Association and environmental group ecoAmerica documented some mental health impacts of a warming world.

Rising extremes cancel winter health benefits
(Reuters)  Global warming will fail to reduce high winter death rates as some officials have predicted because there will be more harmful weather extremes even as it gets less cold, a British study showed. A report in the journal Nature Climate Change on the situation in England and Wales said climate warming would likely not decrease winter mortality in those places. It suggested more volatile winters, with swings from cold to mild linked to rising greenhouse gas emissions, might even raise death rates.

The warming Arctic hosts growing number of diseases

As the climate warms in Arctic regions, more and more diseases from Europe and elsewhere are spreading there, threatening both animal and human populations.

Warming expands European range of West Nile Virus

Global warming trends have a significant influence on the spread of West Nile Virus to new regions in Europe and neighboring countries, where the disease wasn't present before, according to a new study by the University of Haifa. The study found that rising temperatures have a more considerable contribution than humidity, to the spread of the disease, while the effect of rain was inconclusive. West Nile Virus is spread by mosquitoes that repeatedly bite infected birds. The potential threat of the infection  to humans inivolved irreversible brain damage or even death through encephalitis or meningitis. The elderly and people with weak immune systems are most susceptible.

Warmer winters spawn more flu outbreaks
The American public can expect to add earlier and more severe flu seasons to the fallout from climate change, according to a research study published online Jan. 28 in PLOS Currents: Influenza.

Bird Malaria Transmitted in Alaska
A team of biologists has just announced the first documented case of bird-to-bird malaria transmission in Alaska. Writing in the journal PLOS ONE, they’ve shown that this frequently fatal avian illness, which is normally associated with the tropics and temperate areas, may be expanding its range. Fortunately, avian malaria doesn’t affect humans, co-author Ravinder Sehgal of San Francisco State University said, but the findings are particularly significant from a bird conservation as well as a climate change standpoint.  Insects that transmit diseases . . . are often limited in their geographic ranges, and the limits usually have to do with how cold it gets. As the climate warms up, the insects can expand into new ranges — generally northward in the Northern Hemisphere, and also to higher altitudes — bringing their viral or bacterial passengers along for the ride.

Record Outbreak of West Nile Virus Follows Record Summer Heat

The United States is experiencing one of the biggest outbreaks of West Nile virus in history, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of Tuesday, 1,118 cases of the mosquito-borne disease had been reported. That's the highest number ever reported at this point in the year since the disease was first detected in the U.S. in 1999. If cases continue to grow at this pace, the West Nile outbreak could be the largest ever in the United States, said Dr. Lyle Petersen of the CDC. The reason for the large outbreak this year is not clear, but it could be related to this season's especially hot summer. Hot weather seems to increase the virus' transmissibility, Petersen said.

Warming increases virulence of parasites

Parasites look set to become more virulent because of climate change, according to a study showing that frogs suffer more infections from a fungus when exposed to unexpected swings in temperatures. Parasites, which include tapeworms, the tiny organisms that cause malaria and funguses, may be more nimble at adapting to climatic shifts than the animals they live on since they are smaller and grow more quickly, scientists said.

Warming Oceans Breed Tropical Bacteria in Northern Europe

Manmade climate change is the main driver behind the unexpected emergence of a group of bacteria in northern Europe which can cause gastroenteritis, new research by a group of international experts shows.  The paper, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, provided some of the first firm evidence that the warming patterns of the Baltic Sea have coincided with the emergence of Vibrio infections in northern Europe.  Vibrios is a group of bacteria which usually grow in warm and tropical marine environments. The bacteria can cause various infections in humans, ranging from cholera to gastroenteritis-like symptoms from eating raw or undercooked shellfish or from exposure to seawater.

Some Anxiety Disorders Found to Focus on Climate Change
A new study has found that many people with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) are worrying about the effects of climate change and global warming. Researchers from the University of Sydney looked at patients attending an anxiety disorders clinic.
They found one-third of the patients had anxiety about the effects of climate change.

Six US Disasters Cost $13.3 Billiion in Health Costs
Natural disasters tied to climate change not only cause physical damage but create significant health costs in terms of hospitalizations and lives lost prematurely, according to a study that looked at six recent disasters in the United States.  The study in the peer-reviewed journal Health Affairs used the case studies as examples of events that are projected to worsen as the planet warms, the authors said. The six events resulted in an estimated 1,689 premature deaths, 8,992 hospitalizations, 21,113 emergency room visits and 734,398 outpatient visits, according to the study.  In dollars, the largest cost by far was for premature deaths at $13.3 billion.

Seven Ways Climate Change Threatens our Health

The consequences of climate change sometimes appear far off. But warming and changing weather patterns are already driving changes in public health. The following are seven ways in which climate change affects you and your well-being. From the increase in frequency of heatwaves to the spread of infectious diseases, changing weather patterns are already affecting us all

Climate Impacts Seen Driving Mental Illness
Rates of mental illnesses including depression and post-traumatic stress will increase as a result of climate change, a report says.
The paper, prepared for the Climate Institute, says loss of social cohesion in the wake of severe weather events related to climate change could be linked to increased rates of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and substance abuse. As many as one in five people reported ''emotional injury, stress and despair'' in the wake of these events.

Scientists Identify Provisional Link to Altered Rainfall and Plague Outbreaks

Outbreaks of the plague – a relatively rare but deadly disease – are linked to rainfall and may become more frequent in some areas as climate change alters weather patterns, scientists from Norway and China say.

2011 Shaping Up As Worst Year for Allergies Yet
The 2011 spring allergy season is shaping up to be a miserable one, with pollen levels reaching record highs, thanks to heavy winter snows, early spring rains, and an early spring warm-up.  Just a year ago, the 2010 allergy season was the "worst on record" for many of the same reasons. So should we expect each spring allergy season to be worse than the last, in an eternal one-upmanship that sends us running for the tissue box or the asthma inhaler? Probably so.

Filipino Senator Raises Alarm about Climate-Driven Dengue Outbreak

Filipino senator Loren Legarda, worried over the reported rise in dengue cases as a result of climate change, urged the Department of Health to improve its public health services and ensure early prevention and control of diseases.  Legarda, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, said that according to a study, Climate Vulnerability Monitor 2010, it is not disasters but climate change related-diseases that cause the most number of deaths.

CO2 Spurs Growth of Allergens

Bad news for 35 million allergy sufferers - ragweed, fungal spores and poison ivy are thriving due to rising carbon dioxide levels. At the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) in Phoenix, Nov. 11-16, allergists and scientists discussed the effects of rising CO2 levels and a changing climate on plant biology and public health.

Malaria Soars with Rainforest Cutting
A small reduction in tropical rainforest cover can increase malaria incidence by nearly 50 per cent, a study in the Brazilian Amazon has found. Open spaces and partially sunlit pools of water, typical conditions of deforested landscapes, provide an ideal habitat in which the Anopheles darlingi mosquito— the main vector of the malaria parasite in the Amazon — can live and lay its eggs, according to the study, published online early in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Allergies Soar as Temperature Rises
Thanks to an unusually cold and snowy winter, followed by an early and warm spring, pollen counts are through the roof in much of the U.S., especially in the Southeast, which is already home to some of the most allergenic cities in the country. The bad news is that in a warmer world, allergies are likely to get worse - and that's going to cost sufferers and the rest of us. A new report released on Wednesday by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) found that global warming will likely increase pollen counts in the heavily populated eastern section of the country and that the effect of climate change could push the economic cost of allergies and asthma well above the current $32 billion price tag. 

Experts Explore Psychological Impacts of Climate Change
According to accumulating evidence, climate change won't just trigger new cases of stress, anxiety and depression. People who already have schizophrenia and other serious psychological problems will probably suffer most in the aftermath of natural disasters and extreme weather events.

Lancet Details Health Impacts of Unstable Climate

Climate change will imperil health through malaria, cholera, heatwaves and hunger, but many problems can be eased or avoided if countries make wise policy choices, doctors said. In a series of papers issued ahead of the UN climate conference in Copenhagen, experts challenged governments to factor in public health when conceiving a battle plan for global warming.

Harvard Medical School Adds New Health Risks to Warming

Kidney stones, malaria, Lyme disease, depression and respiratory illness all may increase with global warming, researchers at Harvard Medical School said.

Climate Changes Put Billions of People at Health Risk

Rapid changes already underway to the Earth's climate, ecosystems and land cover threaten the health of billions, undermining key human life-support systems and threatening the core foundations of healthy communities worldwide, according to a new report.

Doctors Warn of Climate-Driven "Global Health Catastrophe"

Failure to agree a new UN climate deal in December will bring a "global health catastrophe", say 18 of the world's professional medical organisations.

Major Dengue Epidemic Sweeps South America

South Americans have been suffering for months from one of the worst viral epidemics on record. Hundreds of thousands of people have been sickened by dengue fever this year; more than 70 have died.

Doctors Tie Warming to Increase in Allergy Suffering

Overall global warming trends that lead to unusually mild winters are taking their toll in various areas around the country. "In general we're seeing warmer weather earlier," says Dr. Stanley Fineman, an allergist at the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. "Because of this warming trend, we're seeing higher pollen counts sooner, more difficulty and longer seasons." 

Climate Change Seen Taking Increasing Psychic Toll

Psychiatrists are reporting seeing more patients with psychosis or anxiety disorders focused on climate change, as well as children who are having nightmares about global-warming-related natural disasters.

Report Cites Dramatic Increase in Malaria, Dengue in Asia
Southeast Asia and South Pacific island nations face a growing threat from malaria and dengue fever as climate change spreads mosquitoes that carry the diseases and climate-change refugees start to migrate. Recent data suggests that since the 1970s climate change had contributed to 150,000 more deaths every year from disease, with over half of the deaths in Asia.



Warming Could Promote Spread "Deadly Dozen" Infectious Diseases

Health experts from the Wildlife Conservation Society have released a report that lists 12 pathogens that could spread into new regions as a result of climate change, with potential impacts to both human and wildlife health and global economies.

Warming Seen Behind Cruise Ship Illnesses

Warming ocean waters may have tainted Alaskan oysters with a bacteria that triggered four outbreaks of illness on a cruise ship among people who ate the shellfish raw, researchers reported on Wednesday.  "The rising temperatures of ocean water seem to have contributed to one of the largest known outbreaks of Vibrio parahaemolyticus in the United States," said one health official.

Rising Temperatures Linked to Increased Respiratory Deaths
A Stanford scientist has spelled out for the first time the direct links between increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and increases in human mortality.

Unseasonal Rains Spur Dengue Outbreak in Cambodia

Dengue fever killed 407 people in Cambodia last year, the highest number of fatalities in nearly a decade. The spike in cases last year was due partly to the early arrival of the rainy season, which typically runs from May through November.

Washington Post Details Coming Health Impacts

Depending on where you are, this is going to be a hotter, wetter, drier, windier, calmer, dirtier, buggier or hungrier century than mankind has seen in a while. In some places, it may be deadlier, too.


Climate Seen Spreading African Disease to Europe
An outbreak in Europe of an obscure disease from Africa is raising concerns that globalization and climate change are combining to pose a health threat to the West. Nearly 300 cases of chikungunya fever, a virus that previously has been common only in Africa and Asia, were reported in Italy -- where only isolated cases of the disease had been seen in the past.

Warming Found Especially Harmful to Childrens' Health

Global warming is likely to disproportionately harm the health of children, and politicians should launch "aggressive policies" to curb climate change, the American Academy of Pediatrics said today.

Warming Spreads Dengue Throughout Indonesia
Indonesia is on course for some 200,000 dengue fever infections this year, twice last year's total, a top health official said, adding the jump may be in part due to global warming.

Warming Will Increase Mortality Rates

The increase in extremely hot summers predicted by climate change models will lead to a higher death toll that will not be offset by fewer deaths during warmer winters, say researchers.

Warming Spurs Surge of Dengue in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asian nations are battling a surge in dengue cases, amid signs that climate change could make 2007 the worst year on record for a disease that often gets less attention than some higher-profile health risks.

WHO Reiterates Health Threats from Climate Change
Climate change could extend the pollen season and encourage more disease-carrying ticks in northern Europe, and allow mosquitoes to thrive in new areas of Africa and Asia, public health officials said this week.

Warmer Temperatures Boost Childhood Illness

Global warming will take a toll on children's health, according to a new report showing hospital admissions for fever soar as days get hotter. Temperature rises had a significant impact on the number of pre-schoolers suffering from fever and gastroenteritis.

Vancouver Hit By Lethal Tropical Fungus

A tropical and potentially lethal fungus that has mysteriously made a home on Canada's temperate West Coast has prompted foreign medical experts to issue a worldwide alert to doctors and tourists.

CDC: Climate Change is "Largest Looming Health" Threat

The "rising scientific certainty" of climate change should mobilize environmental health professionals to take aggressive action, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director said at a meeting. "Climate change is perhaps the largest looming public health challenge we face, certainly in the environmental health field," said Dr. Howard Frumkin, director of the CDC's National Center for Environmental Health.

Warming Drives Spread of Frog-Killing Fungus

A deadly fungal disease linked to climate change is wiping out huge numbers of amphibians in Spain and could push some species to the brink of extinction.

Researchers Link Warming to Plague

Climatic changes could lead to more outbreaks of bubonic plague among human populations, a study suggests. Researchers found that the bacterium that caused the deadly disease became more widespread following warmer springs and wetter summers.

CO2 Gives Big Boost to Allergens

Harvard researchers say that higher levels of carbon dioxide will boost pollen production, causing allergy sufferers to suffer even more in the future.  Just last week, Duke University researchers reported that rising atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide will likely fuel the growth of a more poisonous form of poison ivy.

Scientists Underestimated Spread of Climate-Driven Diseases

"Things we projected to occur in 2080 are happening in 2006. What we didn't get is how fast and how big it is, and the degree to which the biological systems would respond," said Dr. Paul Epstein, of Harvard Medical School, adding:  "Our mistake was in underestimation."

Climate Change Futures

New report by Swiss Reinsurance details the human and ecological health impacts of global climate change:

Impacts of Climate Change on Human and Ecological Health

"We may be underestimating the breadth of biologic responses to changes in climate. . . Treating climate-related ills will require preparation, and early-warning systems . . .  But primary prevention would require halting the extraction, mining, transport, refining, and combustion of fossil fuels" -- New England Journal of Medicine

Cholera Spread Tied to Warming

An analysis of four decades of disease records from Bangladesh shows that periods of extreme rainfall, drought or high temperatures can sharply increase cholera rates, a pattern that some researchers believe bolsters claims that global warming will increase disease outbreaks.

Warming Waters Drives New Diseases in Alaska

A warmer-than-normal summer in 2004 heated coastal waters off Alaska, causing a bloom in an infectious bacteria. Health officials tested the bacterium strains found in Alaska oysters and in the sick people. They matched, strongly suggesting that the bacteria in the oysters were linked to the human illness.

Extreme Winter Triggers Severe Red Tide Outbreak

Scientists and state officials say the worst outbreak of Red Tide in New England's history was probably caused by an unusually cold and wet winter and spring which brought in algae-nourishing nutrients from the sea.

Malaria Seen Quadrupling in South Africa

Climate change will quadruple the number of South Africans at risk from malaria by 2020, bringing the mosquito-borne disease south towards the country's commercial heartland, a minister said.

Environmental Change Spawns New Diseases

Changes to the environment that are sweeping the planet are bringing about a rise in infectious diseases, the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) has warned.

GHGs Fuel Asthma Epidemic

Poor and minority children are likely to develop asthma at worsening rates due to global warming and air pollution. Environment experts  released a report showing that as the climate gets warmer, allergens such as pollen and mold will flood the air, interacting with urban pollutants such as ozone and soot to fuel an already growing epidemic of asthma.

WHO: Millions Will Be Made Sick by By Climate Impacts

The health of millions will be damaged if world temperatures continue to rise as a result of climate change, says the World Health Organization. Increasing temperatures will aid the spread of water-borne diseases, and those carried by insects, it predicts. Even a rise of a few degrees could expose hundreds of millions more people to the threat of malaria, say experts. In addition, changes to rainfall patterns, could damage agriculture, plunging millions into malnutrition.

WHO: Warming Claims 160,000 Lives A Year

About 160,000 people die every year from side-effects of global warming ranging from malaria to malnutrition and the numbers could almost double by 2020, a group of scientists said yesterday. The study, by scientists at the World Health Organization (WHO) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said children in developing nations seemed most vulnerable.

Climate Drives Spread of Sheep Disease

A killer sheep disease as dangerous as foot-and-mouth but previously confined to Africa has jumped into Europe and is heading steadily north as the climate warms. Bluetongue disease, which is carried by midges, weakens blood vessels causing heavy hemorrhaging and blindness, making it hard for the sheep to feed, see or move. "This is almost certainly caused by climate change,"  said one researcher, adding that with every one degree rise in temperature, the midge expanded its range 90 km further north.

Cold, Wet Spring brings New Surge of Lyme Disease to Massachusetts

Massachusetts residents may be facing the riskiest summer ever for contracting Lyme disease, doctors warn, because the cold, wet spring has dramatically boosted the population of deer ticks that carry the bacteria that causes the debilitating condition. Statewide, the number of people infected with Lyme disease  has almost tripled since 1998.

WNV Found in 24 States

U.S. health officials reported  that the West Nile virus had resurfaced in two dozen states, but they stopped short of predicting another record outbreak of the deadly mosquito-borne disease. West Nile has been detected in birds, horses and mosquitoes in at least 24 states so far this year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has tracked the virus since it first emerged in the United States in 1999. No human cases have been reported this year. (June, 2003).

Human Activities Trigger Explosion of Infectious Diseases

The nation's top scientists say that environmental, economic, social and scientific changes have helped to trigger an unprecedented explosion of more than 35 new infectious diseases that have burst upon the world in the past 30 years. The U.S. death rate from infectious disease, which dropped in the first part of the 20th century and then stabilized, is now double what it was in 1980.


"Preventable" Malaria Killing 3,000 African Children A Day

Malaria  is killing some 3,000 African children each day, say UN officials, but this devastating impact could be curtailed if the international community was more committed to the cause.


WNV Decimating Bird Populations in Midwest

West Nile virus, blamed for dozens of human deaths and more than 1,500 cases of illness, is also taking a toll on avian wildlife in a wide section of the United States from Minnesota south to the Gulf of Mexico and from Nebraska east to Ohio, experts say. A September survey by the National Audubon Society's Chicago region found that crows, which are normally noisy and visible birds, are almost completely absent from parts of the Chicago area. Audubon Monitors also reported unusual numbers of dead or ailing birds of many species.

Some West Nile Victims Show Polio Symptoms

Mosquito-borne West Nile virus is causing a medical condition rarely seen by US physicians since the 1950s: polio. In case reports released yesterday, stunned neurologists in Mississippi and Georgia describe the conditions of four patients suffering from the hobbled limbs, impaired breathing, and fevers that are the hallmark of polio, a disease essentially eradicated in the United States.

WHO warns of Dengue Fever Pandemic
The World Health Organisation said this week that 2002 was shaping up to be a bad year for dengue fever and urged governments and individuals to protect against the mosquitoes which spread the infection.

West Nile Spreads to Younger Victims -- Heat Seen As Factor

The arrival of chilly temperatures in Massachusetts this week signaled the approaching end of this year's West Nile virus season, the deadliest since the mosquito-borne disease arrived in the state two years ago. In 2002, West Nile killed three people in Massachusetts and left 18 seriously ill, with state health authorities cautioning that a few more cases may still be confirmed.

Warming Will Lead To A Sicker Planet

From coral reefs to rainforests, diseases are spreading among marine and land animals — including humans — and global warming appears to be a major factor, researchers reported Thursday in the journal Science. The study, said to be the first to analyze disease epidemics across entire plant and animal systems, bolsters climate models that have factored in the possibility of a warmer earth creating a sicker planet.

Warm Winter Yields Bumper Crop of Allergies

There's something in the spring air, and it's making lots of people miserable. Thanks to an unusually warm winter, trees in New England are releasing their pollen early - and delivering a bumper crop of sneezes, drippy noses, and watery eyes to allergy sufferers.

CO2 Rise Triggers 61 percent More Pollen

Rising carbon dioxide levels associated with global warming could lead to an increase in the incidence of allergies to ragweed and other plants by mid-century. Harvard researchers found that ragweed grown in an atmosphere with double the current carbon dioxide levels produced 61 percent more pollen than normal. Such a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide is expected to occur between 2050 and 2100.

Researchers See Malaria in U.K. by 2050

Large parts of southern England and Wales are at risk from malaria, scientists have calculated. They say that the disease is most likely to take hold in river estuaries and low-lying wetlands. Researchers at Durham University, commissioned by the Department of Health, used a mathematical model to predict how global warming will increase the threat of malaria in coming years.

Lancet: Climate Change Is Bio-Terrorism

Climate change, as with terrorism, cannot be remedied by nations acting alone. Climate change is biopolitical terrorism. Just as they are uniting against geopolitical terrorism, the major industrialised countries must devise workable international efforts to reduce the build-up of greenhouse gases, in cohort with the industries that cause the problem.

Warming Linked to Genetic Change in Mosquitoes

The genetic switch that tells the tiny pitcher-plant mosquito when to bed down for the winter has shifted -- in what scientsts call the first example of a change in a genetically-based function that has been directly related to changes in seasonality.

Pollen Rise Attributed to Warming

Experts say a growing number of studies show that global warming is probably one of the reasons a lot more people are sneezing and wheezing. The reason: longer growing seasons and increased levels of carbon dioxide stimulate more pollen production.

Encephalitis Jump in Sweden Attributed to Warming

Milder weather in Sweden in recent years, possibly linked to global warming, has led to a sharp rise in the number of cases of tick-borne encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, scientists said. The research at Stockholm University in Sweden showed that the rise in average temperatures during the last 40 years had provided fertile breeding conditions for the parasites that carry a virus which causes brain inflammation in humans, which, in a few cases, can be fatal.

Heating Spurs Surge of Diseases

Computer models indicate that many diseases will surge as the earth’s atmosphere heats up. Signs of the predicted troubles have begun to appear, according to an article in the August, 2000 issue of Scientific American.

Climate Impacts could "Overwhelm" British Health Service

Health impacts from climate change in the U.K., including malaria, heat-deaths, and other illnesses, could overwhelm the British National Health Service.

Extreme Weather Causes Record US Flight Delays

US air traffic delays soared to a record last year, with late operations up 20 percent over 1999, the government said yesterday. The Federal Aviation Administration attributed the increased delays and cancellations to poor weather conditions and more flights.

West Nile Spreads From Bird To Bird

Scientists have confirmed that the West Nile Virus can be transmitted from bird to bird, without a mosquito intermediary. The new finding suggests that controversial attempts to control the spread of the disease with pesticides may be ineffective. It also raises the specter of an epidemic of bird deaths across the continent.

Debilitating Effects Suffered by Some WNV Survivors

Most West Nile Virus survivors have told health officials that they have not recovered their strength. Others say they are still so shellshocked that they are afraid to venture outdoors, and they are unwilling to talk about what happened. Roughly half of those over 60 reported serious difficulties with fatigue and muscle weakness and have been unable to perform basic tasks like driving, riding the subway or doing household chores

USDA ties Warming to Hay Fever Rise
Does your sneezing and hayfever seem to be getting worse each year? Blame global warming. Researchers with the U.S. Agriculture Department said that higher carbon dioxide (CO2) levels linked to gradually increasing temperatures on earth may also be responsible for doubling the amount of ragweed pollen during the past four decades.

NY Officials Fear Lyme Disease Increase

The ticks that spread Lyme disease could be abundant this year in the wake of two mild winters. ''Personally, I expect a horrendous year,'' said David Weld, executive director of the American Lyme Disease Foundation in Westchester County. Weld said the deer ticks can more easily thrive after the mild winters. The recent wet spell could also increase the number of surviving ticks, said state Health Department spokeswoman Claire Pospisil. It is difficult to predict if ticks will be more prevalent this summer, Pospisil said, but ''given the conditions, this could put people at a higher risk for Lyme disease.''

Climate Change and Rift Valley Fever

All known Rift Valley fever virus outbreaks in East Africa from 1950 to May 1998, and probably earlier, followed periods of abnormally high rainfall. Analysis of this record and Pacific and Indian Ocean sea surface temperature anomalies, coupled with satellite normalized difference vegetation index data, shows that prediction of Rift Valley fever outbreaks may be made up to 5 months in advance of outbreaks in East Africa. Concurrent near-real-time monitoring with satellite normalized difference vegetation data may identify actual affected areas.

El Nino Breeds Cholera, Dengue, Malaria

The El Nino weather phenomenon has caused a three-fold surge in the number of deaths from diarrheal disease. El Nino, the warming of the Pacific Ocean every two to seven years which leads to extreme climate changes, has been linked to outbreaks of dengue fever, malaria and cholera.

Climate Change Propels the Spread of Infectious Disease

Warming accelerates the breeding rates of disease-bearing insects and propels them to altitudes and latitudes which were previously too cold to support their survival. At current rates of warming, scientists estimate that mosquito-borne epidemics will double in the tropical regions and increase 100-fold in the temperate regions in the next century. The cholera epidemic of the early 1990s that infected 400,000 people just in Peru was triggered in large part by warming. Changes in the climate have promoted the emergence of a frequently lethal pulmonary virus in the southwest, the spread of a strain of Encephalitis and a striking increase in the Northeastern U.S. of tick-borne Lyme disease.

WHO: Climate Change Will Harm Human Health

Climate changes due to global warming could cause a host of major health problems in Europe including an increase in diseases such as malaria and encephalitis, doctors warned. They advised governments to take urgent action to minimise the impact of rising temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns which could cause flooding, disrupt water supplies and sewage disposal and cause toxic waste sites to overflow.

Mosquito Outbreak Frightens New Yorkers

New York's great mosquito scare has arisen from an outbreak which has hospitalized 43 people with West Nile encephalitis and killed six. The disease could spread to other regions of the country, as birds carrying it migrate south for warmer weather.

First Cases of Encephalitis Strike New York City

Two elderly residents of Queens died in September, 1999, from a mosquito-borne viral disease known as St. Louis encephalitis, and city health officials fear that at least nine other people have been infected.Health officials believe that the three confirmed cases are the first ever contracted in New York City.

Malaria Breaks Out in Long Island

In the first case of locally contracted malaria on Long Island in at least a decade, and perhaps ever, two 11-year-old boys caught the disease from mosquitoes while at a summer camp in Calverton, health officials said.

Dengue Hits 5,500 in Mexico

MONTERREY, Mexico -- (AP) -- Dengue fever has swept across northern Mexico near the Texas border, killing at least seven people and making thousands of others ill. About 150 have come down with the serious, sometimes-deadly form known as hemorrhagic dengue.

Health Impacts of the 1997/98 El Nino

The 1997/ 98 El Niño-related extreme weather events spawned "clusters" of disease outbreaks in many regions of the globe. In the Horn of Africa extensive flooding led to large outbreaks of malaria, Rift Valley fever and cholera. In Latin America, extreme weather was associated with outbreaks of malaria, dengue fever and cholera. In Indonesia and surrounding island nations, delayed monsoons and the compounding effects of local farming practices led to prolonged fires, widespread respiratory illness, and significant losses of wildlife.

Extreme Events and Disease: A commentary on Rift Valley Fever

Extreme weather events--unusually heavy rainfall or long periods of drought--have a profound impact on public health, particularly in developing countries. Hurricane Mitch -- nourished by a warmed Caribbean--killed more than 11,000 people and caused damage exceeding $5 billion. The intense precipitation and flooding associated with the hurricane spawned a cluster of disease outbreaks, including cholera, a waterborne disease, and malaria and dengue fever, transmitted by mosquitoes that flourish under these conditions. Harnessing climate data to better forecast future disease outbreaks should enable preventive action to be taken.

Encephalitis Spreads in Russian Summer Heat

Searing summer temperatures in Russia have brought a new threat -- a proliferation of ticks carrying a deadly encephalitis virus. Already a score of people have died from the disease and tens of thousands have consulted doctors after being bitten by the ticks.

CDC: Extreme Weather Fuels Hantavirus Rise

U.S. cases of an often-fatal respiratory illness first recognised in 1993 rose sharply in 1999 because weather conditions allowed the mice that most often spread the disease to flourish. By June, 1999, the disease had surfaced in 30 states.

Melting Ice Caps Could Release Deadly Viruses

Deadly prehistoric viruses may be frozen beneath the polar icecaps and could unleash epidemics if they are released into the atmosphere, according to researchers.

After Mitch, Honduras reels from deadly disease spread

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras Six weeks ago, it was the violent winds and torrential rains of Hurricane Mitch that sent millions in this country running for shelter. Then came the grisly task of digging out bodies and the counting of displaced families. Now, this small, impoverished Central American country is battling an array of deadly diseases and infections that could kill as many people as the storm itself.

Milder Winters Spur More Lyme Disease

Tick populations are growing in some parts of the Northeast thanks in part to two mild winters and a damp early spring. For two decades or so, every year has been a heavy one for deer ticks, with their numbers and access to human hosts continuing to increase as development creeps ever farther into the woods.

Warming Oceans Threaten Human Health

Previously unknown bacteria and viruses blooming in the Earth's warming oceans are killing some marine life and threatening human health. Dying coral, diseased shellfish and warming waters are infected with human viruses as the seas' temperature rises and pollution from the land intensifies.