A wildfire burning near Yellowstone National Park could have caused a deadly outbreak of coronavirus in the United States, according to a new study.
The study, published in the journal Nature, found the number of cases of the virus doubled in the state after a wildfire broke out in April, and that this outbreak was more intense than the one that affected California in 2013.
Dr. Jonathan Rauch, the lead author of the study and an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Diego, said the new evidence suggests that the spread of the coronaviruses could have been even worse if the outbreak had not occurred.
“We found that if we had a wildfire in Yellowstone, the risk of an outbreak was actually higher,” Dr Rauk told reporters on Wednesday.
“We didn’t see that in California.
It was just the opposite.”
Dr Raubuch’s team used data from a large outbreak of the disease in California in 2011, which was followed by a rapid decline in the number and frequency of cases.
It also looked at coronaviral surveillance in the US for the last few years and compared this with data from Yellowstone.
They found that the number in the two states rose from 3,000 cases in 2011 to 14,000 in 2016, and the number fell from 7,000 to 3,600.
This was a different pattern to what had been seen in California and was not as consistent, Dr Rausch said.
But the most important difference, Dr Rybaek said, was that there was no evidence that the outbreak spread outside the US.
That is because the outbreak in Yellowstone was far smaller than what was seen in the California outbreak.
What’s more, Dr Roebling said the analysis was based on data that was available only for California, but the US has many more state health departments and coronavirochavirus surveillance programmes than Yellowstone.
“There is an urgent need to take this new information and understand the magnitude of the impact that a fire can have on the outbreak,” Dr Roabling said.
Dr Roebing said the study could also help inform research into the spread and control of coronovirus.
He said the US needed to better understand the risks posed by wildfires and consider more robust methods of control.
The research was based at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a branch of the US Department of Health and Human Services.
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