Tsunami spread deadly fungus?

Scientists fear that tsunamis and global warming could trigger deadly pandemics. Large waves caused by earthquakes in Indonesia and Japan in recent times can have consequences like the Alaska earthquake in 1964.

According to the BBC, US scientists fear that tsunamis and global warming could cause deadly pandemics. For example, in 1964, a strong earthquake occurred in Alaska. It caused a tsunami that brought a dangerous tropical fungus ashore. The researchers are sure this fungus has grown and learned to survive on the coasts and in the forests of the Pacific Northwest.

It is known that since 1999, more than 300 people have contracted cryptococcosis like pneumonia caused by the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans . In 10% of cases, the infection is fatal.

Tsunami spread deadly fungus?
Terrible consequences of a tsunami caused by an earthquake in Alaska in 1964 – (Photo: Education Images).

Usually, this fungus lives in warmer regions such as Australia, Papua New Guinea, in some parts of Europe, Africa, South America (especially Brazil).

Then this fungus began to spread around the world with the increase of maritime traffic. One of the driving forces behind the spread was the opening of the Panama Canal. The molecular age of the fungus, found off the coasts of British Columbia and Washington state, coincides with the start of shipments from South American ports, which exploded after the discovery, scientists say. opened the Panama Canal in 1914.

This deadly fungus is widespread in coastal forests along the Pacific Northwest. The researchers suggest that the 9.2 magnitude Alaskan earthquake of 1964 was pivotal in generating tsunamis along the coast of the region, including Vancouver Island as well as in Washington and Oregon. Accordingly, tsunami waters are known to carry dangerous strains of fungi and cause invasive skin and lung infections in survivors. They fear that in the coming years, other infections may emerge as a result of the large waves caused by earthquakes in Indonesia and Japan in recent times.

Dr Arturo Casadevall of Johns Hopkins University, USA, said that tsunamis could be an important mechanism when pathogens spread from oceans and estuaries inland and then to wildlife and humans.

The scientific community is concerned that natural disasters and climate change on a global scale could significantly expand the habitat for this dangerous fungus.