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26 March 2009

Climate change breeds viruses

The next great deadly virus will probably come from rural areas in Indonesia or China, said Dr Chris Smith (aka the Naked Scientist), virologist at Cambridge University.

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The next great deadly virus will probably come from rural areas in Indonesia or China, said Dr Chris Smith (aka the Naked Scientist), virologist at Cambridge University.

In a talk about dangerous viruses at the Scifest Africa, currently underway in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape, Smith said that climate change poses a great threat to humans with regards to infectious diseases. He said the next pandemic will probably be a deadly flu, and will come from a country with a poor infrastructure and no proper monitoring.

The most deaths world wide is caused by infection, including evolving viruses we know nothing about. As many as 70% of viruses make the jump from animals to humans. Changes in the environment, as well as host and pathogen changes, are creating a breeding ground for new diseases.

Models of climate change shows that some world regions will become wetter, while others will be drier. Animals will be forced out of their natural habitats, and people will follow. As soon as this happens, new diseases will develop. – (Elsabé Brits/Die Burger, March 2009)

Read more:
Climate change, people, and viruses
Climate to make us sick: WHO

 
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