Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Climatic variations influence the emergence of cholera in Africa

06.09.2007
Cholera is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium, the bacillus Vibrio cholerae. In 2004, 101 383 cases, including 95 000 solely for the African continent, and 2 345 deaths were reported to the World Health Organization.

Global climate change has for several years been contributing greatly to the spread of cholera through associated increase in the frequency of torrential rain, floods and periods of drought. It is now established that the spread of zooplankton which harbours the Vibrio cholerae bacterium follows that of phytoplankton, whose growth is directly related to climate variations.

However, a host of factors act on the climatic conditions and they are difficult to study. Certain parameters vary depending on the regions of the world whereas others act on the global scale. The interactions between the climate and emergence of cholera must therefore be studied region by region. Research has been ongoing in Bangladesh and also in South America for many years, but up to now few studies have been conducted in Africa. Yet it is on that continent that the public health situation is giving the most cause for concern.

A study published by research scientists of the Laboratoire de Génétique et Evolution des Maladies Infectieuses (GEMI), mixed research unit IRD/CNRS (2), is the first to yield evidence of the correlations between the outbreak of cholera epidemics and climatic data in 5 West African countries (Togo, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin and Nigeria). The research team set up an epidemiological database founded on cases recorded by the WHO over a 20-year period, between 1975 and 1995, in each of these countries. Comparison of these figures with parameters of local and global climate variations showed the factors particularly involved to be the volume of rainfall and the Indian Oscillation Index (IOI), an indicator of the global climate variability constructed from variations in atmospheric pressure in the Indian Ocean. Values of this index lower than –1 showed an association with a warm event such as an increase in sea surface temperature. In contrast, values above +1 coincided with cold events.

The annual rainfall regime and the IOI act on the aquatic environment in which Vibrio cholerae develops (estuaries, sea shores, river beds and so on). In the wild, the cholera bacillus lives in contact with small aquatic crustaceans, copepods, are a component of the zooplankton. These microscopic animals, which constitute the principal reservoir of the bacterium, feed on phytoplankton. They therefore have a tendency to congregate in the zones where the density of microscopic algae is highest. This relationship is fundamentally important. It provides a means to monitor the areas rich in plankton by remote sensing, and therefore to detect from space the potential reservoirs for Vibrio around the coasts.

Outbreaks of cholera appear irregular and, in order better to understand the epidemic pattern dynamics, the GEMI researchers used an adapted statistical tool that favours a wavelet analysis method. This novel process allows comparison of the frequencies of epidemic outbreaks with a range of climatic or environmental parameters (climate variability index, volume of precipitation, phytoplankton concentration near the coasts). This approach also takes into account the random variation of frequencies of emergence of epidemic foci.

The research team thus successfully linked the number of new cases of cholera first to the global climate variability index and then to monthly rainfall readings between 1989 and 1994. For that period, a frequency of epidemic occurrence of 2 to 3 years was indicated for the countries studied, except for the Ivory Coast. A significant correlation was also observed between the IOI and the annual rainfall regime for these same four countries. Furthermore, analysis of the interannual variability of rainfall between 1975 and 1996 indicated the existence of a 3 to 5–year long cycle in the appearance of the disease for the whole of the areas covered by the study. The IOI and volume of precipitation are therefore two climatic variables that appear to be strongly correlated with the appearance of epidemic foci of cholera. The latter usually develop during seasonal periods but their rhythm period can also exceed the annual cycle (between 2 to 5 years). In other words, indirect relationships between climatic variations or variations in rainfall volume and emergence of foci of infection can persist for several years. These results agree with those obtained previously in Bangladesh and South America.

Over the coming years, the results of this research work should contribute to the creation of an early warning system that takes climatic parameters into account for prediction of cholera epidemic dynamics. That should facilitate the organization of prevention actions, such as drinking water filtration schemes, and the planning of care provision for people by supplying medical kits and rehydration kits. This kind of approach could also be applied to the understanding and prevention of other climate-sensitive illnesses such as malaria, dengue and other vector-borne diseases.

Grégory Fléchet -IRD

Grégory Fléchet | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ird.fr/fr/actualites/fiches/2007/fas271.pdf

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

Im Focus: Optoelectronic Inline Measurement – Accurate to the Nanometer

Germany counts high-precision manufacturing processes among its advantages as a location. It’s not just the aerospace and automotive industries that require almost waste-free, high-precision manufacturing to provide an efficient way of testing the shape and orientation tolerances of products. Since current inline measurement technology not yet provides the required accuracy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is collaborating with four renowned industry partners in the INSPIRE project to develop inline sensors with a new accuracy class. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project is scheduled to run until the end of 2019.

New Manufacturing Technologies for New Products

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation

22.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Plant inspiration could lead to flexible electronics

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

A rhodium-based catalyst for making organosilicon using less precious metal

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>