Experts Warn More Deadly Diseases Could Arrive In The United States

Matt Lillywhite

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Experts in the scientific community are concerned about contagious viruses becoming more prevalent in the United States over the next few decades due to climate change. According to research published by The World Health Organization (WHO), "changes in climate are likely to lengthen the transmission seasons of important vector-borne diseases and alter their geographic range."

"By changing the environment, we are going to directly impact our health," said David Redding at University College London during an interview with New Scientist. Climate change will impact the likelihood of viruses like Ebola spreading by transforming new regions into appropriate habitats for disease-carrying animals. Fruit bats, for example, are thought to be a reservoir for the Ebola virus, so if the trees they rely on can thrive in a new region or country, fruit bats could theoretically transmit the disease to humans in a new location. And obviously, if infection prevention measures aren't adequate, dangerous diseases (such as Ebola) could spread fairly quickly amongst the human population.

According to an article published by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, "preventing deforestation—a root cause of climate change—can help stem biodiversity loss as well as slow animal migrations that can increase risk of infectious disease spread. The recent Ebola epidemic in West Africa probably occurred in part because bats, which carried the disease, had been forced to move into new habitats because the forests they used to live in had been cut down to grow palm oil trees."

The article also mentions the necessity to reduce air pollution in major cities like New York, Dallas, and Los Angeles. The reason? Reducing air pollution generated by the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas helps keep our lungs healthy, which can protect us against respiratory illnesses.

Deadly Diseases Are Wreaking Havoc Around The Country.

A couple of weeks ago, a young child died of a brain-eating parasite in Texas. "As freshwater lakes get hotter in the summer, that leads to more amoebae (parasites) in the water and increased human risk," said Sonia Altizer, an associate professor of ecology at the University of Georgia, during an interview with Scientific American. And since Texas is forecasted to experience hotter summers over the next few decades, many experts believe deadly diseases and parasites will frequently infect the local population.

In Arizona, the state recently broke a record for West Nile Virus (WNV) cases in a single year. According to the CDC, "Symptoms of severe illness include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness, and paralysis." It's also worth mentioning that cases of WNV are predicted to increase in New York, Connecticut, and several other states due to climate change.

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This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered health advice. Please consult a doctor before making any decisions that could impact your health.

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