Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Brain-eating Parasites

Soon our house and yard will fill up with insects and spiders.  We love the spiders because they kill and eat the insects.  The planet is warming, though, and we may soon see insect life we're not used to seeing.  For example, the aedes aegypti mosquito bringing us dengue fever and chikungunya.

aedes aegypti mosquito
An aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads dengue (and chikungunya) virus. The 2014 National Climate Assessment warned that climate change is “increasing the risk of … health threats that are currently uncommon in the United States, such as dengue fever.”
But let us also not forget brain-eating parasites, which are expected to thrive as U.S. lakes heat up. That parasite — the amoeba, Naegleria fowleri — feasts on human brains like a tiny zombie. As one Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expert warned several years ago: “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.”