Friday, August 2, 2013

Brain-eating parasites thriving in Joe Romm's brain

Joe Romm's latest global warming scare story today is entitled, "Brain-Eating Parasites Thrive As Global Warming Heats Up Lakes." Romm offers no evidence that the 0°C global warming over the past couple decades will increase the exceedingly rare incidence of amoebic encephalitis [a total of 32 cases from 2002 to 2011], a parasite that preferentially thrives in water temperatures above 100°F [38°C]. 

Brain-Eating Parasites Thrive As Global Warming Heats Up Lakes

Posted August 2, 2013 by Joe Romm

...Another apparent winner [allegedly from global warming] is Naegleria fowleri aka N. fowleri . The bad news:

It’s a fatal infection without an effective treatment, and one that strikes in a decidedly gruesome manner: An amoebic organism lurking in water is inadvertently inhaled during a swim on a hot summer’s day. From there, it travels through the nasal passage and into the brain, where it multiplies, devours one’s cerebral fluid and gray matter, and almost invariably causes death.
The good news is that it is, or has been, an exceedingly rare disease — “between 2002 and 2011, there were only 32 infections in the US.” But as far back as 2007, Michael Beach, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expert in recreational waterborne illnesses, warned:
“This is a heat-loving amoeba. As water temperatures go up, it does better. In future decades, as temperatures rise, we’d expect to see more cases.”
The CDC notes that this (thermophilic) amoeba is “able to grow and survive at higher temperatures, such as those found in hot springs [greater than 100 F] and in the human body, even under fever temperatures. able to grow and survive at higher temperatures, such as those found in hot springs and in the human body, even under fever temperatures.”
And indeed, as The Verge reported in June:
In recent years, N. fowleri has popped up in unexpected locations, which some experts suggest is a sign that warmer waters — caused by brutal summer heat waves and rising temperatures across the country — are catalyzing their spread.
“The climate is changing, and let me tell you, so is this,” says Travis Heggie, an associate professor at Bowling Green State University who’s tracked the amoebas for several years. “If warm weather keeps up, I think we’ll see N. fowleri popping up farther and farther north.”
...So the next time someone says that there will be winners and losers from global warming, remember that many of those winners will help make Homo sapiens one of the biggest losers.

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