The real problem is that Russia lacks a functional public health system, which means it will be unable to respond to these kinds of public health shocks. This is not a place that will be made nicer by global warming.
Experts have long feared that Earth's warming climate would cause tropical diseases such as malaria to spread into more temperate zones, but a dramatic example of an apparently climate-related disease outbreak cropped up this winter in a cold place -- Russia.
More than 3,000 cases of infections caused by hantaviruses have been reported so far in Russian cities and towns, including many that are within a few hundred miles of Moscow, such as Voronezh and Lipetsk. The viruses can cause a serious, and sometimes deadly, disease known as hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, or HFRS.
During Russia's more typically frigid winters, scientists believe, HFRS-causing viruses die off in the consistently below-zero temperatures. But this winter has been anything but cold. On Dec. 7 Moscow hit a record 46 degrees Fahrenheit. HFRS was last on a rampage in Russia in 1997, coinciding with another very warm winter. By mid-spring that year, the number of cases reached more than 20,000.
There's also a nice graphic associated with this article:Hat tip: CD.