NOTRE DAME, Ind. (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Changes in climate can increase infectious disease risk in animals, researchers found — with the possibility that these diseases could spread to humans.
The study, conducted by scientists at the University of Notre Dame, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of South Florida supports a phenomenon known as “thermal mismatch hypothesis,” which is the idea that the greatest risk for infectious disease in cold climate-adapted animals – such as polar bears – occurs as temperatures rise, while the risk for animals living in warmer climates occurs as temperatures fall.
The hypothesis proposes that smaller organisms like pathogens function across a wider range of temperatures than larger organisms, such as hosts or animals.
The research team collected data from more than 7,000 surveys of different animal host-parasite systems across all seven continents to provide a diverse representation of animals and their pathogens