Legionnaires' Disease Spreading Rapidly Across U.K.
Spurred by what scientists believe are ideal climate change-influenced weather patterns, Legionnaires' disease — a deadly bacterial lung infection with a more than 1 in 10 mortality rate — has continued its rapid spread across Britain, having already managed to notch record levels in 5 of this year's first 6 months. Infected water inhaled as a vapor helps spread the lethal disease and causes severe pneumonia-like symptoms.
Typically, Legionnaires' disease cases rise during the warmer seasons — spring and summer — reaching a peak in late August or September. Last year, whose summer witnessed the hottest July on record and a wet August, saw the highest recorded number of infections since records started being kept in 1980. Scientists expect further increases within the coming years as the effects of climate change continue to intensify. The country's Health Protection Agency recently released a report stating that: "Over 200 cases occurred in August and September and are being investigated for links to the warm weather experienced in 2006 and possible climate change effects on the ecology of the disease." The rapid increase in community-acquired infections — which this year accounted for more than half of the total — has lent credence to this potential climate change connection.
Via ::The Independent: Legionnaires' spreading across UK (newspaper)
See also: ::New Worries about Climate Change-Induced Spread of Infectious Diseases, ::Children Already Bearing Brunt of Global Warming, ::The Ticks Have it: Climate Change Not to Blame for More Diseases
Image courtesy of Peter Gutierrez via flickr