Two public health researchers have created a model that takes into account weather and other factors that affect the number of people who will fall ill during an outbreak. With this model they show that the risk of weather-sensitive diseases may increase with climate variability or even gradual climate change. Better understanding of the ways in which climate can affect disease will help researchers forecast infectious disease outbreaks and design early warning systems.
In a paper published in Environmetrics, first author Elena Naumova, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Public Health and Family Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston and co-author Ian MacNeill, PhD, professor emeritus, in the Department of Statistics & Actuarial Sciences at the University of Western Ontario, introduce a model that takes into consideration the lag time between exposure and infection. The authors then demonstrate this model by analyzing the association between high temperature and daily incidence of cryptosporidiosis in Massachusetts from 1996-2001.
In this new model, Naumova and MacNeill consider several factors: outdoor temperature, base level of a disease in a community before an outbreak, the number of people infected throughout the course of the outbreak, and incubation time of a given disease. "It is this last factor that affects what we call the lag time," says Naumova, "infected individuals go on to infect others, and current models may be underestimating the number of cases in an outbreak by failing to account for lag time."
"To consider such time-distributed lags is a challenging task given that the length of a latent period varies from hours to months and depends on the type of pathogen, individual susceptibility to the pathogen, dose of exposure, route of transmission and many other factors," write the authors. "Using data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, we demonstrated that the number of cases of cryptosporidiosis increased and can be sustained over the 21 days following a temperature spike exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit. This model is able to provide an accurate estimate of cases of cryptosporidiosis that can be attributed to both lag time and the weather," says Naumova.
"We hope that this model can be expanded upon by public health researchers to gain insight into how disease is spread, and what populations are most susceptible. Our goal is to tailor this model for specific climate regions, infections and at-risk subpopulations, and look for patterns between outbreaks. Continually refining our models will enable us to assess the effects of climate change on human health and make better projections about future infectious disease outbreaks," says Naumova.
This work builds on Naumova's previous research developing mathematical models to predict, more accurately, the timing, severity and impact of diseases. Naumova, a biostatistician, is the director of the Tufts Initiative for the Forecasting and Modeling of Infectious Diseases (Tufts InForMID). This group aims to improve biomedical research by developing innovative computational tools in order to assist life science researchers, public health professionals, and policy makers. Her research focus is developing tools for time series and longitudinal data to study disease surveillance, exposure assessment, and studies of growth.
Siobhan Gallagher | EurekAlert!
International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
World Water Day 2017: It doesn’t Always Have to Be Drinking Water – Using Wastewater as a Resource
17.03.2017 | ISOE - Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
23.03.2017 | Life Sciences
23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences