Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate may play a role in the distribution and prevalence of trachoma

Date:
November 7, 2013
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
High temperatures and low rainfall are important factors which influence the occurrence and severity of the active stages of trachoma -- the most common cause of infectious blindness -- according to a new study.

High temperatures and low rainfall are important factors which influence the occurrence and severity of the active stages of trachoma -- the most common cause of infectious blindness -- according to a new study publishing November 7, 2013 in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Sightsavers carried out the first systematic review to explore links between climate and trachoma. They found temperature and rainfall appear to influence the transmission of the infection in Africa, possibly because the eye-seeking flies which spread trachoma are more active at higher temperatures and are more abundant in areas with low rainfall.

Trachoma affects more than 40 million people, but it is estimated that 1.2 billion people worldwide live in areas where trachoma is found and are at risk of going blind. The bacterial infection is either passed from person to person by contact with infected secretions from the eyes or nose on hands and clothing, or by flies that land around children's eyes. Repeated infection in childhood can lead to blindness later in life.

The World Health Organization has resolved to eliminate blinding trachoma by 2020 and is working with governments and partners to roll out the SAFE strategy*, which includes surgery to distorted eyelids, antibiotics for active infection, facial cleanliness and environmental improvement to reduce the spread of the infection.

However to ensure the disease can be eliminated on schedule, a greater understanding of all factors that affect the incidence of the disease is needed. This study brings together the evidence on the role climate factors have to play for the first time.

Study co-author Dr Sari Kovats, Senior Lecturer at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: "Our findings will assist international efforts to map where trachoma occurs as we now have a clearer understanding of the role that altitude, temperature and rainfall can play. We need to increase research on the environmental determinants of blinding trachoma in order to make control measures more effective now and in the future."

Dominic Haslam, Director of Policy at Sightsavers and co-author of the study, said: "This review underlines the urgent need for organizations such as Sightsavers to step-up global efforts to eliminate trachoma, before regional climate shifts make the current situation worse. The blinding disease already causes devastating suffering to millions around the world, and yet we know that by promoting face washing, better hygiene and sanitation, we can help manage the spread of trachoma in endemic communities."

The researchers stress the limitations of the study; only eight papers that were identified in the literature search met the standard for inclusion in the review and all these studies were undertaken in Africa (in Mali [2], Burkina Faso [1], Ethiopia [3], Tanzania [1] and South Sudan [1]), so the findings may not be generalizable to other areas. The study was co-funded by Sightsavers and Irish Aid.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Anita Ramesh, Sari Kovats, Dominic Haslam, Elena Schmidt, Clare E. Gilbert. The Impact of Climatic Risk Factors on the Prevalence, Distribution, and Severity of Acute and Chronic Trachoma. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2013; 7 (11): e2513 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0002513

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Climate may play a role in the distribution and prevalence of trachoma." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131107204233.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2013, November 7). Climate may play a role in the distribution and prevalence of trachoma. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131107204233.htm
Public Library of Science. "Climate may play a role in the distribution and prevalence of trachoma." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131107204233.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) In the U.S., there are more than 11 million couples trying to conceive at any given time. From helping celebrity moms like Bethanny Frankel to ordinary soon-to-be-moms, TV personality and parenting expert, Rosie Pope, gives you the inside scoop on mastering motherhood. London-born entrepreneur Pope is the creative force behind Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep. She explains why being an entrepreneur offers the best life balance for her and tips for all types of moms. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Catching More Than Fish: Ugandan Town Crippled by AIDS

Catching More Than Fish: Ugandan Town Crippled by AIDS

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) The village of Kasensero on the shores of Lake Victoria was where HIV-AIDS was first discovered in Uganda. Its transient population of fishermen and sex workers means the nationwide programme to combat the virus has had little impact. Duration: 02:30 Video provided by AFP
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