Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

From Swine Flu To Dengue Fever: Infectious Disease Risks On The Rise

Date:
April 30, 2009
Source:
Emory University
Summary:
Global travel and human alterations to the environment, such as rapid urbanization, are helping to fuel some infectious diseases outbreaks, says an expert in the eco-epidemiology of infectious diseases. Deforestation and other human changes to the landscape are other drivers of emerging infectious diseases, according to experts.

Emory University environmental studies professor Uriel Kitron was in Australia last week, assisting health authorities in an outbreak of dengue fever in the state of Queensland, when news broke about the swine flu epidemic in Mexico.

Global travel and human alterations to the environment, such as rapid urbanization, are helping to fuel some infectious diseases outbreaks, says Kitron, also chair of the environmental studies department at Emory and an internationally known researcher of the eco-epidemiology of infectious diseases. Kitron's research focuses on vector-borne diseases carried by insects and ticks and the zoonoses – diseases shared by humans and animals.

"In many developing countries, people are moving from rural areas to mega-cities, where they continue to practice subsistence agriculture," Kitron says. "Whenever you have large concentrations of people, domestic animals and poor sanitation and water supply, you have many opportunities for disease transmission."

Deforestation and other human changes to the landscape are other drivers of emerging infectious diseases, he added. "For example, when you bring agriculture into formerly forested areas, you change the migration patterns of animals and expose people and their livestock to more contact with wildlife," he explains.

Stemming Dengue Fever in Australia

Unusually hot, wet weather, a rapidly developing strain of the dengue virus, and a human traveler created "a perfect storm" for dengue fever in Queensland, Australia – which is experiencing its worst outbreak in two decades. About 1,000 people have become ill with the mosquito-borne illness. Dengue fever causes severe headaches and joint pain, and exposure to a second strain can result in hemorrhagic fever and death.

Kitron joined other experts in assisting Queensland health authorities. Kitron specializes in spatial epidemiology – using geographic information systems (GIS) and other methods to gather environmental data and create maps to pinpoint disease agents and their vectors in time and space.

The outbreak was traced to a patient who had recently traveled to Papua, New Guinea. "Although quite sick, he didn't go to a doctor for several weeks," Kitron says. "Whenever you have a lag time in diagnosis like that, you miss opportunities to prevent the spread of an outbreak."

Queensland's public health efforts – combined with cooler, drier weather – appeared to have stemmed the dengue fever outbreak for now. However, Kitron says the virus may be re-introduced, or could over-winter and re-emerge in the next hot season.

The Queensland government is now considering investing in spatial analysis software. Kitron plans to return for a workshop on using the technology to aid in the response for future outbreaks.

"Use of GIS and spatial statistics can help health authorities determine which cases are more likely to lead to other cases, so that they can better target which houses should be sprayed for mosquitoes immediately, and which ones can wait," Kitron explains.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Emory University. "From Swine Flu To Dengue Fever: Infectious Disease Risks On The Rise." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090429162152.htm>.
Emory University. (2009, April 30). From Swine Flu To Dengue Fever: Infectious Disease Risks On The Rise. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090429162152.htm
Emory University. "From Swine Flu To Dengue Fever: Infectious Disease Risks On The Rise." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090429162152.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Super Healthful Fruits and Vegetables: Which Are Best?

Super Healthful Fruits and Vegetables: Which Are Best?

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) We all know that it is important to eat our fruits and vegetables but do you know which ones are the best for you? Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Panda Might Have Faked Pregnancy To Get Special Treatment

Panda Might Have Faked Pregnancy To Get Special Treatment

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) A panda in China showed pregnancy symptoms that disappeared after two months of observation. One theory: Her pseudopregnancy was a ploy for perks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Firefighters Rescue Puppy Stuck in Tire

Raw: Firefighters Rescue Puppy Stuck in Tire

AP (Aug. 26, 2014) It took Houston firefighters more than an hour to free a puppy who got its head stuck in a tire. (Aug. 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A study published in the journal "Neurology" interviewed more than 19,000 people and found 15 percent suffer from being "sleep drunk." 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