Friday, October 10, 2008

Coming Soon: 12 Plagues Of The World!

At a time when the world's economy struggling, here comes another report of how the climate is just ripe for 12 deadly contagions to spread their tentacles around the world. The medical industry better watch out!

A report released by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), in Spain forecasts the threats. Serving as a stark reminder of the biblical, 10 Plagues of Egypt, it's titled “The Deadly Dozen: Wildlife Diseases in the Age of Climate Change.” For now the best defense against the scare appears to be wildlife monitoring to detect how these diseases are moving and then act to minimize their impact, experts suggest. Changes in climate (temperatures and precipitation) are being cited as the culprits for the varying distribution and spread.

The Prophesied Plagues Follow:

1. Plague: Yes, one of the plagues is plague itself, highly infective and deadly, the disease is easily spread by rodents and fleas to humans and animals.

2. Avian influenza or Bird Flu: Caused by viruses adapted to birds, increases in stormy weather can force infected wild birds to new regions and bring them into greater contact with domestic birds , spreading the disease further.

3. Babesiosis: Caused by parasites, it seems to be spreading fast. Reportedly, tick population is booming among the wild life in East Africa .

4. Cholera: An infectious gastroenteritis, it's common in warm weather regions. The bacteria behind the disease thrives in warm water. It's treated with anti-infective medicines.

5. Ebola: Ebola viruses are adept at killing apes and humans. It's spread has been associated with changing levels of rainfall.

6. Intestinal & external parasites: Higher temperatures and rainfall aid them to flourish. Many such species can spread between animals and humans.

7. Lyme disease: This bacterial disease is spread through tick-bites. As tick population gets distributed due to climate change, the disease will debut in new areas.

8. Red tides: This term refers to blooms of algae, which can form dense visible patches near water's surface. They are deadly because of the toxic substances they produce, e.g. saxitoxins.

9. Rift Valley fever: The virus causing the disease mostly spreads through the bites of infected mosquitoes. And is already a well-known disaster in Africa.

10. Sleeping sickness or human African trypanosomiasis: Transmitted by the tsetse fly, an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 people are presently infected with the disease.

11. Tuberculosis: It is a common and often deadly infectious disease affecting different systems and parts of the body, mostly lungs (about 75% cases).

12. Yellow fever: Yellow fever is an acute viral disease, and is commonly spread by mosquito bites. The infection is a major cause of hemorrhagic illness in many African and South American countries.

"History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce," said Karl Marx, I can't make sense of the “farce” part though. Find more info about climatic change and disease at WHO Climate Change.

Btw, poor economy won't cause most people spend less on health care, but we can always ensure to spend wisely and minimize wasteful expenditure. See: Do Dietary Supplements Make Economic Sense?

No comments: