As climate change grows, parasites may get nastier
A really silly tree frog
Parasites look set to become more virulent because of climate change, according to a study showing that frogs suffer more infections from a fungus when exposed to unexpected swings in temperatures.
Parasites, which include tapeworms, the tiny organisms that cause malaria and funguses, may be more nimble at adapting to climatic shifts than the animals they live on since they are smaller and grow more quickly, scientists said.
“Increases in climate variability are likely to make it easier for parasites to infect their hosts,” Thomas Raffel of Oakland University…told Reuters, based on findings about frogs and a sometimes deadly skin fungus.
“We think this could exacerbate the effects of some disease,” he said of the report he led with colleagues at the University of South Florida. It will be published in Monday’s edition of the journal Nature Climate Change…
“Few…studies have considered the effects of climate variability or predictability on disease, despite it being likely that hosts and parasites will have differential responses to climatic shifts,” they wrote…
Based on factors including their size, life expectancy and factors such as their metabolisms, the scientists said frogs probably took 10 times as long as fungus to get used to unexpected temperature changes, a process known as acclimation.
Raffel said that more tests were needed of other parasites and hosts to confirm the findings. “This study was only done on an single tropical frog species,” he said.
Unforeseen consequences lead back to the crap we human beings force upon this planet’s environment forever. The time for taking responsibility is past due.