GEOGRAPHY IN THE NEWS:
Changes in physical geography -- including changes in weather patterns -- can create biogeographic changes too. Australia's recent, and unprecedented, outbreak of Japanese encephalitis is a case in point. Japanese encephalitis is a mosquito-borne disease endemic to Asia. However, record flooding in eastern Australia in March created wetlands for migratory birds, which are thought to have brought Japanese encephalitis with them to Australia. When native mosquitoes, also plentiful due to the flooding, bit the infected birds and then people and other animals, both wild and domestic, Japanese encephalitis began spreading in Australia. Because the virus is now present in animal hosts, it is unlikely the disease will be eradicated from Australia. Instead, the geographic range for Japanese encephalitis has expanded to include eastern Australia. www.newscientist.com/article/2312539-australias-japanese-encephalitis-outbreak-blamed-on-climate-change/
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