A new study has found that the continuous change in the climatic conditions has triggered the spread of very infectious diseases in new hosts, such as Ebola or West Nile virus, and at new places.
The study, which was conducted by the researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the US, has cautioned against the ongoing change in climate, suggesting the humans can see emerging of more such potentially fatal illnesses in the future.
The one most common reason behind the onset of various kinds of illness is that the climate change leads to the shift of habitats, which brings wildlife, livestock, crops and human beings into the contact of pathogens to which they are susceptible as well as to which they have never been exposed before.
Zoologist Daniel Brooks said, “It is not that there is going to be one ‘Andromeda Strain’ that will wipe everybody out on the planet. There are going to be a lot of localized outbreaks putting pressure on medical and veterinary health systems.”
Brooks and another zoologist and study co-author Eric Hoberg have made serious observations about how the changing climate has affected different ecosystems. They have seen the arrival of species that had not earlier lived in that area, while the others’ departure.
Hoberg is associated with the US National Parasite Collection of the Agricultural Research Service of USDA.
According to the researchers, the places where they have been working over the last 30 years were heavily impacted by the climate change.
“Even though I was in the tropics and he (Hoberg) was in the Arctic, we could see something was happening. Changes in habitat mean animals are exposed to new parasites and pathogens,” Brooks said.
Brooks terms it the “parasite paradox”. According to the scientists, both hosts and pathogens become more tightly adapted to each other over time.
The findings of the study were published online in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.