June 26, 2008

Global Warning Can Cause Mass Infections

A U.S.-led international team of scientists said it's determined extreme climatic weather events can produce a sharp increase in infectious diseases.

The scientists, led by University of California-Davis researchers, said they determined how climate extremes associated with global warning -- such as the increased frequency of droughts and floods -- can create conditions in which diseases that are tolerated individually might converge and cause mass deaths among livestock or wildlife.

The study suggests such conditions are capable of altering normal host-pathogen relationships, causing a perfect storm of multiple infectious outbreaks that could trigger epidemics with catastrophic mortality.

The research is detailed in the online journal PLoS One.