Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Winter Brings Flu, Summer Brings Bacterial Infections

Date:
December 7, 2008
Source:
Oregon State University
Summary:
In the same way that winter is commonly known to be the "flu season," a new study suggests that the dog days of summer may well be the "bacterial infection" season.

In the same way that winter is commonly known to be the "flu season," a new study suggests that the dog days of summer may well be the "bacterial infection" season.

Researchers have discovered that serious infections caused by gram-negative bacteria can go up as much as 17 percent with every 10 degree increase in seasonal temperature. The findings, which were based on seven years of data from infections in a Baltimore hospital, suggest that the incidence there of some of these illnesses might be up to 46 percent higher in summer than in winter.

The cause is not known, scientists said, but the seasonal variation is clear.

"Gram-negative bacteria are a frequent cause of urinary tract, gastrointestinal and respiratory infections, as well as more serious things like pneumonia, wound or blood infections," said Jessina McGregor, an assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy at Oregon State University. "Everyone knows there is a seasonality to some viral infections such as influenza or the common cold, but we're now finding that some of these bacterial infections peak in the heat of summer."

Recognition of these seasonal trends, the researchers said, may improve disease diagnosis, prompt treatments and better interventions to prevent the infections in the first place.

The findings were made by scientists from OSU; Dr. Eli N. Perencevich, associate professor of epidemiology and preventive medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine; and researchers from the University of Florida and the Research Institute of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. They were just published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, a professional journal.

The study examined infections caused by several gram-negative bacteria, including E. coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, E. cloacae, and Acinetobacter baumannii. The greatest increases in infection due to higher temperatures were found with P. aeruginosa, a common cause of burn, external ear, urinary tract and lung infections; and A. baumannii, an opportunistic pathogen that can cause death and serious illnesses, particularly in people with compromised immune systems.

The study also found that there was no apparent seasonal increase in gram-positive bacterial infections, which have a slightly different cell structure and are the source of fewer pathogenic infections in humans.

"Bacterial infections in general have been rising for some time, probably due at least in part to increased antibiotic resistance," McGregor said. "The more we can learn about what is causing them and when they are most likely to occur, the better we can treat or prevent them."

There are several possible causes for the summertime increase in gram-negative bacterial infections, the researchers said, but none are proven. P. aeruginosa is an aquatic organism, and infections caused by it could be linked to more people swimming in lakes or pools during the summer. Cattle have higher bacterial shedding rates in the summer, and the peak of E. coli infections could be connected to higher consumption of ground beef or other factors during the "outdoor grill" season.

Several of these gram-negative bacteria cause urinary tract infections, and a known risk factor for that is recent sexual intercourse – the frequency of which also peaks in the summer, when there is more sunlight.

"Regardless of the mechanisms responsible for infections, recognition of the link between the physical environment and the incidences of pathogenic infection could aid in infection prevention interventions or the selection of optimal empirical antimicrobial therapy," the researchers wrote in their report.

The link between this type of bacterial infections and heat, the study suggested, should also be considered along with the many other possible impacts of global climate change.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oregon State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Oregon State University. "Winter Brings Flu, Summer Brings Bacterial Infections." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081126215300.htm>.
Oregon State University. (2008, December 7). Winter Brings Flu, Summer Brings Bacterial Infections. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081126215300.htm
Oregon State University. "Winter Brings Flu, Summer Brings Bacterial Infections." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081126215300.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is blaming doctors for the low number of children being vaccinated for HPV. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins