Return from the Grave: Small Pox Might Reemerge Due to Arctic Ice Melt

Aug 18, 2016 04:00 AM EDT

Thawing of ice in some areas of Siberia is three times more than the usual and it might result to the return of small pox.

According to The Sun, though it is not unusual for melting of ice nowadays due to climate change, what made thawing of Arctic ice in Siberia an exception is because this might cause a deadly outbreak of small pox that comes from the graves in the area.

Mirror reported that last month in Yamal peninsula, a child was killed and there were already 24 more with confirmed infections that came after an outbreak of deadly anthrax. Unfortunately, there were more than 2,300 reindeer died.

Thawing of reindeer or human graves is believed to have widened the anthrax infection. But this thawing can also re-emerge the small pox that has been wiped out from the world.

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These processes repeat themselves, warned Boris Kershengolts, deputy director for research at the Institute for Biological Problems of the Cryolithozone in Yakutsk. He recounted an incident back in the 1890s when more than 40 percent of the population suffered with a major small pox epidemic.

"Naturally, the bodies were buried under the upper layer of permafrost soil, on the bank of the Kolyma River (in eastern Siberia), " he said, adding. "Now, a little more than 100 years later, Kolyma's floodwaters have started eroding the banks."

Virus experts from the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences have visited the graves, according to Professor Sergey Netesov of Novosibirsk State University. And surprisingly, it was found that the corpses had sores that look like it came from small pox.

Aside from anthrax and small pox, scientists are also discovering new "giant viruses" in woolly mammoth corpses, which are appearing as warmer weather melts ice and permafrost.

To learn more about small pox, check out the video below.

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