Many people still believe that global warming is nothing more than a myth, cooked up to destroy big business and pull loose the very fiber of the first world. Citizens in Siberia, however, may have a different story to tell. Siberia has faced an unusually hot summer this year, rising to 10 degrees Fahrenheit above the average in some areas. The unbearable heat has triggered a list of strange phenomena including wildfires, record flooding, natural moon bounces (Enormous pockets of carbon dioxide and methane trying to escape the soil as shown in the video below), and now the revival of a previously frozen anthrax causing bacteria.
What Is Anthrax, And How Did This Happen?
Anthrax is actually a disease caused by a bacterium called Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax can come in four forms: cutaneous (skin), gastrointestinal, and pulmonary (inhaled). In humans, cutaneous anthrax is the most common and pulmonary is the rarest and most severe.
There have been roughly 12,000 reported deaths of reindeer in the Yamalo-Nenets autonomous region of Siberia, originally attributed to the heat. Scientists have now confirmed that the deaths are due to an anthrax outbreak in the area, and suspect that it stems from weakened reindeer consuming the infected rotting flesh of a thawed reindeer carcass. Rising temperatures in the area have began thawing the tundra, and with the thawing of the ice comes the release of carcasses and other matter that has been frozen for many years. Anthrax causing bacteria has been known to survive for up to a century, and the carcass that is believed to have started the outbreak is only 75 years old.
Since this discovery, there have been 40 people hospitalized who are believed to have been infected. Moscow laboratories have not confirmed whether or not the patient's illnesses were caused by anthrax, but they are being treated as if they have. According to Anna Popova, chief state sanitary doctor of Russia, authorities will soon begin sanitation of the area and officials have began a mass vaccination of all reindeer in the area.