Global Warming: Unintended Consequences

A lot has been written about the impact of global warming, but an article on ABC News discusses an aspect I had never thought about before. The article discusses the public health aspects of global warming. The article mentions a number of cases that can be directly or indirectly linked to global warming. For example, what was thought to be an outbreak of the Norfolk virus, on an Alaskan cruise ship, turned out to be due to “…a type of cholera-like bacteria, Vibrio parahaemolyticus…” How is this possible?

“There’s a sort of threshold level, above which concentrations of Vibrio in oysters become (accumulated) enough to cause illness in humans,” said McLaughlin, a medical epidemiologist with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services in Anchorage. “That temperature is about 15 degrees Celsius. What we found was that 2004 was the first summer on record during which the temperature exceeded that.”

The article goes on to discuss insect borne diseases and asthma, among others. Definitely worth a read…

2 Responses

  1. My son in the Peace Corps in Kenya tells me that there is huge concern in the tropics about the increase in malaria that will likely result from global warming. Oh boy!

  2. I wonder if the virus actually effects the oysters or are they just carriers?
    The sun is about 25% brighter then it once was, but worldwide temperatures have not significantly risen, why? Basically this is because of life itself and its ability to trap away carbon. Shellfish, such as oysters, trap a good deal of carbon in their shells.
    If this effects the shellfish themselves, then one of our best carbon trappers could be weakened, which will exascerbate global warming. Not good.
    * learned from A Short History of Nearly Everything (pretty good book btw)

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