In the summer of 2016, a 12-year-old boy died of anthrax in Russia's remote Yamal Peninsula in Siberia; about 100 suspected cases were hospitalized, and at least 20 were found to have also been diagnosed with the potentially lethal disease. In addition, more than 2,300 reindeer in the area have also died from the infection. What is the reason? The answer is that the permafrost is thawing. Permafrost is a layer of soil that has been frozen for years, and Russian officials say the thawed permafrost releases dormant Bacillus anthracis spores that seep into nearby waters and soil before entering the food supply chain.
The anthrax outbreak was the first locally in 75 years. Over the years, researchers have predicted that the effects of global warming, as temperatures photo background removing rise, may release microbes originally frozen in permafrost, such as ancient bacteria; scientists believe that this may include diseases that humans did not expect or have no immunity to. factor. Now the nightmare is gradually becoming a reality: disease-causing microorganisms emerge from the deep permafrost. Anthrax occurs naturally in a variety of soils, and disease outbreaks have nothing to do with permafrost, but large-scale thawing of permafrost can greatly increase the number of people exposed to Bacillus anthracis.
Russian scientists Boris A. Revich and Marina A. Podolnaya predicted in a 2011 paper in the journal Global Health Action that "thawed permafrost could lead to deadly infections in the 18th and 19th centuries. The vectors of the disease are recovering, especially near the cemetery where the deceased of the infectious disease were buried.” High-latitude permafrost is indeed thawing, and thawing deeper than ever. In many parts of Siberia, the thawing depth of the upper active layer of permafrost is about 50 cm each summer, but in the summer of 2016, there was a heat wave, and the temperature hovered at 35 ° C, 25 ° C higher than usual. This difference may have widened or deepened the thaw, as well as activated microbes that are usually buried deep within the frozen soil.