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Climate Change Resurrects Dormant Diseases From Permafrost Graves; Here's What You Should Know [VIDEO]

Update Date: May 05, 2017 08:52 PM EDT
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Climate change has caused permafrost to melt and flush out buried microbes that have been laying dormant. (Photo : Getty Images / Scott Olson)

Climate change scientists believe that the melting permafrost in the semi-Arctic regions has helped in the recent reemergence of long dormant diseases. Know more details about it, here.

Dormant Diseases Making A Comeback?

Late last year, scientists were alarmed when cases of anthrax infection, which included one fatality -were recorded in the Siberian area of the Arctic circle. Scientists theorized that the long dormant diseases such as anthrax may be exposed, as the warmer temperatures melt the permafrost due to climate change.

The climate change scientists believed that the reindeer infected with anthrax had been buried in the permafrost around the area and when it melted due to a heat wave in 2016, the spores from the dormant disease were spread into the water and soil. These spores then caused the new infections in the area, BBC reported.

Dormant diseases are poised to make a comeback because permafrost is cold and has little to no oxygen. Older permafrost layers may also harbor buried people and animals, who succumbed to deadly epidemics of the past. Early in the last century, more than a million deer that died of anthrax were buried in shallow graves because it was previously difficult to dig into the frozen permafrost in Siberia.

Effects On How Diseases Are Now Being Transmitted

Another climate change effect that has been observed is the way in which some diseases are transmitted. Grazing wild deer are now travelling further or displaced out of their ranges because of lack of food.

This movement of the deer suggested that the ticks they carried can now be found in areas where they weren't present before - therefore instances of Powassan and Lyme disease will spread out. The cases of malaria in African countries are now found in higher up in the mountains than before because mosquitoes are now able to climb higher up, due to warmer temperatures felt in previously cold altitude levels, National Geographic reported.

Scientists and epidemiologists believe that in the future, other dormant diseases like the bubonic plague and small pox will start rearing their heads, as the Arctic tundra in Siberian Russia and Northern Europe melts. They hope that governments are ready to contain these threats if and when they do happen. Stay tuned for more updates.

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