Along with rising sea levels, warmer winters, and worsening heat waves, climate change could raise our odds of getting malaria or other parasite-born diseases. One reason for that is because mosquitos and other disease-carriers are able to expand into areas that used to be too cold for them.
Cattadori and colleagues observed Scottish rabbits for nearly two and a half decades and found that the warming climate over that period enabled soil parasites to live longer, putting the rabbits at an increased risk of infection. The extent to which this increased risk affects the severity of an infection, she says, depends on the strength of the host’s (in this case, the rabbit’s) immune response. Cattadori’s findings could eventually help treat and prevent infections in humans from similar parasites.
She tells us more in the video below:
Members of the news media interested in talking to Cattadori should contact Barbara Kennedy at 814-863-4682 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The researchers report in the current issue of Science that the key to this discrepancy may lie in how climate science is being taught in schools. Science teachers are offering lessons in climate science, it seems, but their own values and knowledge may be causing a mixed message for students.
At the AAAS annual meeting last weekend I learned a lot, such as:
How our preconceptions of viruses as nasty things may have thwarted our knowledge of the long list of positive interactions humans have with these microbes.
How evolution changed us from furry creatures into lean, mean, skin-covered, sweating machines.
And how we can now take pictures and make movies of atoms. Actual atoms.
One thing I did not learn is that I am not a great photographer. I have known that for a long time. In fact, if you couple my lack of photographic skills with my out-of-focus iPhone camera, the pictures of the atom have finer resolutions and were much clearer.