If you don’t burnt up by rising temperatures, drowned by incoming seas or eaten by cannibals (a la Ted Turner’s warning), don’t think you’ve escaped the B-Movie effects of global warming. The Hanta virus will get ya!
The New York Time’s green blog comments on a study (unpublished, natch) that finds that the areas affected by a die-off in aspen trees has seen a rise in the number of deer mice.
So, with perfect predictability, the article finds a way to wring a deadly effect of global warming out of this news. Deer mice, it warns us, carry the Hanta virus, and those deer mice in the recently open areas are more likely to carry it (I don’t know – maybe they’re more sociable and pick up anything that’s going around).
A new study suggests that the decline of the West’s aspens is not just marring the landscape, but also helping to spread a strain of hantavirus fatal to humans.
Scientists reported last year that the aspen die-back in the West had slowed after a series of cooler, wetter years. But research also suggests that the aspens remain vulnerable to sudden shifts in climate and that further forest declines are highly likely in coming decades because of climate change.
The spread of hantavirus among mice in the wake of the aspen die-offs should already be considered an “unintended consequence of climate change,” Dr. Lehmer said. She noted that other studies have shown an increase in human hantavirus infections in Germany during years of above-average warmth.
New York Times. Spread of Deadly Virus Tied to Forest Decline
Of course, the fact that the United States is no warmer now than it was in the 1930s goes completely unrecorded in the article.
The fact is, all viruses and diseases follow some sort of trend. They’re not known for remaining static. They rise, peak, and then fall. In fact, as everyone knows, a lot of diseases get spread quicker in cold weather because people are indoors with sealed windows and the heating up nice and high. But of course, that point goes unmentioned as well.
Run for the hills! Avoid the mice!