Siberia currently faces an unprecedented weather pattern, which has led to a number of Siberians getting sick. A recent heat wave has melted permafrost in western Siberia, which has led to reindeer carcasses infected with anthrax to spread the infection to other deer and the area’s residents. As of Tuesday, eight people have been reported to be sick, and a 12-year-old boy has died.
Anthrax is generally considered to be a biological weapon, but it’s actually a disease caused by bacteria and can lay dormant in soil for long stretches of time. The recent outbreak is the first time the disease has surfaced since 1941 in the region. Officials told Russia Today there could have been even more dead reindeer in the permafrost — and more potential for disaster — but many of the deer in the area have tested negative for the disease:
“More than two thousand of those deer have already died, all of them in the Yamalo-Nenetsky area. A total of 90 people, half of them children, were taken to hospital after being evacuated from the remote area where the infection spread. Most of them tested negative for the disease.”
June presented historic temperatures for the world and this recent outbreak seems to be a direct result. Temperatures in western Siberia have reached as high as 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and officials are not taking any chances of the disease spreading. The capital of the Yamalo-Nenetsk Autonomous Area has been under quarantine since the outbreak.