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1 .This is Scientific American 60-Second Science. I'm Christopher Intagliata. Got a minute?

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2 .Parts of the planet warm and cool during El Nino and La Nina.

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3 .And infectious diseases also wax and wane in step with the climate cycle.

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4 .Take malaria, shown to spike in northern Venezuela during cool, La Nina conditions.

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5 .Or flu pandemics, which often follow months after La Nina sets in.

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6 .Now researchers have linked another public health risk to El Nino climate cycling: poisonous viper bites.

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7 .Their study area was Costa Rica, where health centers keep rigorous records on snakebites.

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8 .They compared nine years of those snakebite records, including some 6,500 bites to climate data over the same period.

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9 .And they found that snakebites were two to three times as prevalent in the hottest and coldest years of the El Ni?o climate cycle.

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10 .Sounds counterintuitive, you might expect the climate extremes to have opposite effects.

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11 .But the researchers say in hot, dry years, plant productivity peaks, driving an increase in the number of rodents, aka snake food, and potentially increasing the number of snakes.

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12 .And snakes tend to move around more in hot, dry weather, increasing chances they'll encounter and attack an unlucky farmer.

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13 .In cold, wet years, on the other hand, prey numbers plummet forcing snakes to travel beyond their usual slithering grounds to eat, again increasing chances of an unlucky meeting.

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14 .The study is in the journal Science Advances.

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15 .The researchers also found two more variables that correlate strongly with Costa Ricans' odds of being bit: poverty and destitute housing.

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16 .A reminder that, when it comes to dangers from environmental disruption, it's often the least fortunate who are at the greatest risk.

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17 .Thanks for the minute, for Scientific American 60-Second Science. I'm Christopher Intagliata.

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