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Posted Wed Mar 23 2011: from AlaskaDispatch:
Warmer Arctic could increase threat of disease for caribou, other foods
Climate change in the Arctic could change the balance of power between humans, animals and the germs or pathogens that make them both sick, according to a paper by University of Alaska Fairbanks microbiologist Karsten Hueffer.... The rates of predicted climate change for the Arctic could spell disaster for this longstanding host-pathogen balance. A warmer Arctic could increase survival of organisms that carry disease and decrease survival of the animals they infect - including animals used as subsistence food by people living in the Arctic. "What happens when a caribou has its calf on ground warm enough to have pathogens the calf cannot fight off?" said Hueffer. "The same issue could face bears giving birth in dens." Muskoxen are affected by a lung worm known to develop much faster when it's warmer. "The faster the worm grows the more generations are born, which increases the disease pressure on the muskoxen," said Hueffer. Humans are at risk as well. A warmer Arctic and the prospect of an ice-free Northwest Passage is expected to drive an increase in development and other human activity in the North, all of which will increase contact among wildlife, humans and domesticated animals.
[Read more stories about: climate impacts, arctic meltdown, permafrost meltdown, health impacts, ecosystem interrelationships]

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'Doc Michael says:
Caribou, muskox, and bears -- they die!

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