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Disease-carrying insects move north
BOSTON, May 4 (UPI) -- As the Earth warms, insects that carry disease
are spreading into new areas, bringing the West Nile virus to Canada
and malaria to high valleys.
Dr. Paul Epstein, who teaches at Harvard Medical School and once
worked in Africa, said the shift is coming faster than physicians
"Things we projected to occur in 2080 are happening in 2006," he told
The Washington Post. "What we didn't get is how fast and how big it
is, and the degree to which the biological systems would respond. Our
mistake was in underestimation."
The World Health Organization says at least 30 diseases are either
new or making comebacks because of climate change, a shift in the
pattern of infectious disease unlike anything seen since the
Epstein and his colleagues, in a report late last year, said cold
areas are more sensitive to climate change than warm ones and insects
are very sensitive to higher temperatures.
Copyright 2006 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.