Climate change blamed for a host of serious health issues including the recent Midwest Tornadoes that trigger new flu strains, say experts.
“Everyone recognizes the raw power that pandemics have to sweep through human populations and seemingly kill indiscriminately,” writes Professor Nathan Wolfe, founder and CEO of Global Viral Forecasting. Professor Wolfe also writes in his new book -- “The Viral Storm: The Dawn of A New Pandemic Age" -- how continuing Tornadoes, twisters, Tsunami’s and earthquakes -- “open the gates of hell” when these weather patterns alters bird migration and creates other infections in nature. In turn, this ongoing “Global Warming” climate change promotes the development of new flu strains. For instance, Professor Wolfe’s publisher, Time Books, is marketing this new “Viral Storm” book by explaining how this Stanford University professor traveled to “the viral hot spots of the world, where viruses first jump from animals to humans. The scientist spends his days tracking emerging infectious diseases before they turn into global pandemics.”
Professor points to recent storms as fearful
Professor Nathan Wolfe writes in his new book “The Viral Storm: The Dawn of A New Pandemic Age” that what “comes after” such storms – such as the recent powerful Tornadoes that slammed the Midwest and Southeast, killing at least 40 people in four states, local officials said March 3 – is “how pandemics are born.”
In turn, the fast-moving twisters are akin to fast moving Tsunami’s that hit the West Coast last March after the Japan earthquake also triggered massive health concern outbreaks in Japan, and fear of radiation spreading elsewhere.
For instance, Professor Wolfe points to “cutting-edge laboratories” at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as “disease outbreak control centers” at the World Health Organization (WHO) that are now “tracking down these potentially devastating bugs” that both the CDC and WHO state are triggered by such things as Tornadoes and Tsunami’s.
In fact, a new study, reported by cbc.ca/new early this year, noted how the CDC and WHO “has found a link between the La Nina weather pattern and the worldwide pandemics of influenza in 1918, 1957, 1968 and 2009. Each of those pandemics was preceded by La Nina conditions in the equatorial Pacific, found the study published online last January in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).
Climate change blamed for new strains of flu
The study also noted how “the La Nina pattern alters the migratory patterns of birds, which may in turn promote the development of dangerous new strains of flu, said study co-author Jeffrey Shaman of Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.”
"We know that pandemics arise from dramatic changes in the influenza genome," Shaman said. "Our hypothesis is that La Nina sets the stage for these changes by reshuffling the mixing patterns of migratory birds, which are a major reservoir for influenza."
For the study, cbc.ca/new reported how “public health scientists at Columbia and Harvard University studied records of ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific in the fall and winter before the emergence of the four most recent flu pandemics.
They found all four pandemics were preceded by below-normal sea surface temperatures, which is consistent with the La Nina phase of the El Nino-Southern Oscillation. This weather pattern develops in the tropical Pacific Ocean approximately every two to seven years.”
The study authors also noted research that showed “the La Nina pattern alters the migration, stopover time, fitness and interspecies mixing of migratory birds. Such conditions may favor the kind of gene swapping, or genetic reassortment, that creates new and potentially more variations of the influenza virus. Altered migration patterns not only change the contact among bird species but they may also change the ways that birds come into contact with domestic animals such as pigs. Gene-swapping between bird and pig influenza viruses was a factor in the 2009 swine flu pandemic, researchers noted.”
Professor warns that 2012 is a critical year
Professor Nathan Wolfe, founder and CEO of Global Viral Forecasting, recently told National Public Radio (NPR) -- about in his new book “The Viral Storm: The Dawn of A New Pandemic Age” – that climate change “has a lot to do with the rise of new pandemic fears.”
For instance, Professor Wolfe writes in his book that “I’ve lectured on this work around the world and taught undergraduates in my virology seminar at Stanford University, it’s hard to ignore a growing general interest in these topics.”
Thus, he writes: “Everyone recognizes the raw power that pandemics have to sweep through human populations and seemingly kill indiscriminately.
Yet, given the importance of these large events, large questions remain remarkably opaque:
-- How do pandemics start? And, why is 2012 a critical year with the Mayan prophecy and other threats?
-- Why are we now plagued with so many pandemics?
-- What can we do to prevent pandemics in the future?
In turn, Professor Wolfe does not address the “Mayan prophecy that the world will end on Dec. 21, 2012” – but those who’ve reported about the Mayan prophecy point to “ancient language about “plagues on Earth.”
World plagued with pandemics and real fear
Professor Wolfe ends his new book “The Viral Storm” – that he says is “brewing now in 2012” due to massive climate change and threats of terrorists using super bugs to wipe out populations – with the warning that “we live in a world fraught with risk from new pandemics.”
Moreover, usnews.com and other national and international media made headlines Feb. 21 when reports stated how “U.S. health officials have asked government biosecurity advisers to reconsider their recommendation that details of research involving the spread of so-called H5N1 bird flu be withheld from the public.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health on Wednesday said new information has come to light, and that flu experts at the World Health Organization have also concluded that the work should be published.
In turn, usnews.com stated how “research conducted in Wisconsin and the Netherlands recently triggered alarm when it appeared that scientists had devised a form of bird flu that spread more easily from mammal to mammal. U.S. officials, fearing a deadly flu of pandemic proportions, urged that details of the experiments be withheld from the public so they couldn't be used by bioterrorists.”
New disease strains emerging
But at a meeting of researchers late last month, Dr. Ron Fouchier, a virology professor at the Netherlands' Erasmus University, and one of the original team members, “said the strain didn't spread easily after all and that people with exposure to regular flu seemed protected from serious infection.
Publishing the research would benefit the scientific community and further research into bird flu mutations, vaccines and treatment, Doctor Fouchier said.
Also, scientists at the Centers for Disease Control have also recently suggested how “a new swine flu virus has the potential to cause a world outbreak," with no technology on Earth that can stop it.
The paper warns that people born after the mid-1990s may be "particularly susceptible to infection" because of a virus that circulated in the early part of that decade that may have given some people a low level of protection. The virus was shown to be highly transmissible from ferret to ferret, an animal which has long been used to explore the possibility of human-to-human transmission of viruses.”
Overall, experts note that climate change is still to blame for a host of serious health issues; including the recent Midwest Tornadoes "that promote development of new flu strains."
Image source of a Florence, Oregon, jetty that was “created” by the Tsunami that hit Oregon and West Coast beaches last March after the Japan earthquake. The jetty, photographed March 2, now has altered sea bird nesting, say marine science experts, with dead birds found on jetty rocks near where locals once fished. Climate change is blamed for the bird deaths, say experts. Photo by Dave Masko