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Birds catching malaria in Alaska

Disease may be transmitted north of Arctic Circle within decades

5:38pm, September 21, 2012

Birds can catch malaria at least as far north as Fairbanks, Alaska, a new study confirms. And at the rate climate is expected to change, the risk zone for avian malaria might stretch beyond the Arctic Circle by 2080.

Throughout much of continental North America, malaria-causing Plasmodium parasites have been hitchhiking inside mosquitoes from bird to bird for eons. But many long-exposed bird species don’t get particularly sick because they’ve developed some degree of tolerance over time. What’s worrisome about the northward creep of malaria risk is that parasites might reach bird populations that haven’t been exposed,

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