News / Health

Scientists Find Temperature, Rainfall Can Predict Cholera

Slight rise in temperature can double number of cases

A woman exhibiting cholera symptoms is helped at an earthquake refugee camp in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Jan. 8, 2011
A woman exhibiting cholera symptoms is helped at an earthquake refugee camp in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Jan. 8, 2011
TEXT SIZE - +
Art Chimes

Scientists studying temperature and rainfall patterns in areas that later had cholera outbreaks say small increases in warmth and wetness are followed by a surge in cholera cases a few months later. The information could give public health authorities a new tool to help battle this serious disease.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 100,000 people die from cholera each year, despite a vaccine which can prevent infection and simple treatment that works most of the time.

Advance notice of an outbreak might help in the battle against the acute diarrheal disease.

Now, an international team working in Tanzania has found that rising temperature and increased rainfall can signal a coming surge in cholera cases.

"What these authors from the International Vaccine Institute in [South] Korea, as well as the University of North Carolina, and the Ministry of Health in Zanzibar in Tanzania have shown," says cholera expert Peter Hotez, "is that a one degree increase in temperature can ultimately result in a two-fold increase in the number of cholera cases."

Hotez is president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, which published the research in its journal.

He says that previous research had established that the Vibrio cholerae bacteria can thrive in the gut of a tiny aquatic animal called a copepod.

"So the rationale for looking at temperature is because we know that increases in temperature can result in proliferation of these copepods and therefore create new niches for the Vibrio cholerae to replicate."

Cholera is typically spread through contaminated water, and with the bacteria proliferating when temperatures and rainfall increase, the number of infections also increases. As global temperatures have risen in the past decade, so have the number of cholera cases, according to the WHO. And Hotez says the nature of the outbreaks is changing, too.

"Now we're seeing long and very protracted outbreaks of cholera, like the one that's been occurring in Haiti and now the Dominican Republic. For instance, the epidemic in Zimbabwe lasted a year and caused 4,000 deaths, and we're probably seeing something of similar magnitude in Haiti."

Lead author Rita Reyburn and colleagues point out that climate scientists are predicting a rise in global mean temperatures over the next century of between one and six degrees Celsius. The authors say that suggests the "possibility of increased cholera incidence in many resource-poor regions of the world."



You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Resigns

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid