Warmer World Means More Disease

B. McPherson

If you swim in warm, fresh water experts recommend nose plugs.
Our home planet is warming. Not by much so far, only a degree or two. But already we are seeing an increase in distribution of diseases that are thought of as ‘tropical’. North America and other temperate developed areas have enjoyed freedom from many parasites and microbes that plague the warmer climates.

This summer a microbe found in warm water, soil, hot springs has attacked people. In Pakistan, they are trying to track down the source of a brain eating amoeba. Sounds like something from a grade B movie. Not at all. In the US there are fatalities from this common microbe. Two children in Virginia died last August of the parasite after jumping into a warm lake. The meningitis the amoeba causes rarely gets far enough up the nasal passages to cause trouble, but the USDA has reported 32 infections over the past ten years. Once contracted the microbe causes death in 98% of victims.

Caution is urged for people who use neti pots to irrigate their sinuses. Sterile conditions are a must using only distilled or boiled water. Do not use tap water, even if it has been chlorinated. The risk of death is too high. For detailed information on this parasite refer to the CDC webpage.

As the world warms, other diseases expand their reach. Emerging and re-emerging microbes and parasites are set to challenge the health delivery systems in new and bizarre ways.

Some Emerging Diseases
·         Malaria
·         Dengue fever
·         Chikungunya fever
·         West Nile
·         Viral encephalitis
·         Yellow fever

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