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Home Health The thawing of Siberian permafrost soil carries the risk of anthrax and...

The thawing of Siberian permafrost soil carries the risk of anthrax and prehistoric diseases

TIn any case, the sites of cattle graves are kept secret because they are not accessible to the public.

"Why increase the phobia in relation to these animal burial sites?" Explained Mr. Kershengolts.

However, according to a 2009 state report, more than a third of 13,885 bovine burials in Russia did not meet sanitary standards.

When permafrost thaws, water flows more easily and spores away to possibly infect new victims.

When anthrax expert Vasily Seliverstov came to respond to the outbreak of the Yamal, he encountered scatterings of dead reindeer lying "in a chain" along several miles of the path of the affected herd.

He blames the drought this summer. As the precipitation increases elsewhere, it actually decreases in the northernmost tundra zone.

Anthrax spores were flushed into the mud of one of the small lakes that populate the marshy tundra, Seliverstov believes. When the water dries, hungry reindeer may be grazing on the anthrax-infested grass that has grown in their place.

"In the cursed fields with all these lakes, the likelihood of animals becoming infected is quite high during a dry summer," he said.

The danger of spreading anthrax from cattle graves should also be better monitored, he added.

Yakutia has more such sites than any other region. A 2011 study found that anthrax outbreaks were highest in areas where warming was highest, with 21 people killed between 1949 and 1996.

Other diseases could also wait. Researchers found smallpox DNA fragments on bodies in Russian permafrost and 1918 Spanish flu RNA in Alaska.

Some even fear that those involved in Yakutia's woolly mammoth tusk trade could pick up "paleo-pathogens," ie, historical diseases that humans may never have encountered, after freezing live bacteria in mammoth for 20,000 years.

In a 2014 study, even older Siberian permafrost viruses were revived and scientists were able to revive an 8 million-year-old Antarctic ice bacteria.

Mr Kershengolts fears that the disease may spread beyond the far north, given the mysterious craters that are believed to have been caused by the explosion of methane hydrates.



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