Global Warming And The West Nile Virus
Essay, Research Paper
The increase in the population of the world may be affecting us in more ways than previously thought. The usage of fossil fuels increases as the population increases. When a baby is born the immediate need for fossil fuels are increased. One example of this is the immediate need for fuel used to heat the water for the baby’s bottles, bath, and the water required to wash its clothes. This newborn may reach adulthood and begin to drive, yet another increase in fossil fuels. The increase in population is directly related to global warming based on the fact that as the population increases, the burning of fossil fuel is increased. Also, global warming is a direct cause for the increase and spread of disease around the world.
Global warming changes the weather patterns around the world. Northern areas of the globe have increased rainfall while mid and southern portions suffer from increasingly milder winters and droughts. While mid and southern portions of the globe suffer from these effects of global warming, there is another life threatening effect of global warming hidden from obvious view; The West Nile Virus.
The West Nile Virus, originally identified in Uganda in 1933, is transmitted mainly from one species of mosquito (Culex Pipiens) to birds and occasionally humans. These urban mosquitoes only lay their eggs in the turbid waters of cities. This water remains stagnant and turbid because of the lack of rain in the area. Normal rainfalls would wash these areas out and prevent the stagnant water form becoming turbid. Due to global warming, drought conditions have allowed the rotting organic material to remain in these turbid pools of water and feed the Culex Pipiens larva.
Once the mosquito larva has hatched from the turbid water and bites an infected bird, it has the ability to infect several other birds with the West Nile Virus. The West Nile Virus develops inside an infected animal at an increasingly higher rate with warmer temperatures. With the increasing temperatures consistent with global warming, the virus can quickly develop in the infected animal and can be transferred through another mosquito bite quickly.
Although the mid-eastern region of the United States has not had a large number of human casualties due to the virus, it may only be a matter of time. The virus first identified in Uganda in 1933 has appeared in many world countries and has claimed nineteen lives in Israel. This year in New York, seventeen people have become ill with the virus and one man has died from it. Although no reports of human infections have been reported in our area, the virus is fairly new here. The virus was found in an infected bird near Baltimore, MD in mid September of this year. Ward Stone, New York’s state veteran wildlife pathologist said “Three years from now,,, it will be a national problem…”
The increase in the world’s population no doubt will have a bearing on global warming. But, global warming is not the only effect from over population. The spread of disease will be rampant amongst humans and other mammals unless we can alter the way our economic development uses power and energy.