Posted online: Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 5:50:36 PM
Increasing temperatures can contaminate blood meant for transfusions, say researchers.
According to a new report by West Australian researchers, global warming will increase the prevalence of viruses, like dengue and Ross River, already circulating in the northern regions of the country.
The heat could potentially increase the range of organisms that can transmit the viruses and make them more infectious more quickly by accelerating life cycles, said Professor Robert Dunstan, a specialist in emerging infectious diseases at Curtin University in Perth.
“These condition are expected to lead to higher levels of virus activity and greater exposure of humans to the viruses,” News.com.au quoted Prof Dunstan, as saying.
He warned that there was potential for blood transfusion to act as an “efficient vehicle” for transmitting these viruses.
The review published in the latest Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health confirms Australia’s blood supply is among the safest in the world for currently screened viral pathogens like HIV and hepatitis.
“However, Australia has a number of other viral pathogens with the potential to threaten the safety of the blood supply such as the Ross River, Barmah Forrest, Kunjin, Japanese Encephalitis, Murray Valley Encephalitis and dengue viruses,” Prof Dunstan said.