Russians Blame Global Warming For Anthrax Outbreak

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Russian officials are blaming global warming for a recent Anthrax outbreak in the far north region of Yamal that hospitalized dozens of nomadic tribesmen and killed one 12-year-old boy.

Authorities linked the Anthrax outbreak to global warming. Anthrax started to spread in the past month after “abnormally high temperatures” hit the region and possibly unlocked spores hiding in frozen animal remains, reports the Guardian.

“Such anomalous heat is rare for Yamal, and that’s probably a manifestation of climate change,” Alexei Kokorin, who heads the World Wildlife Fund’s climate and energy program in Russia, told the Guardian.

Warm weather thawed Siberian permafrost, including frost over cemeteries and burial grounds where Anthrax can lie dormant for hundreds of years. Nomads don’t bury their dead very deep because of the hard permafrost, Kokorin said.

The current Anthrax outbreak has hospitalized 72 nomads, including 41 children. So far, only one child has died after being hospitalized in the Arctic town of Salekhard. Nomads were rushed to the hospital after more than 2,300 reindeer began dying from the disease.

“We literally fought for the life of each person, but the infection showed its cunning,” said Dmitry Kobylkin, the governor of Yamal. “It returned after 75 years and took the life of a child.”

Siberians are no strangers to Anthrax outbreaks, though one hasn’t been seen in the region since 1941. Anthrax is called “Siberian Plague” and can be released as warmer weather causes erosion along river banks where nomads tend to bury their dead.

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