Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Report highlights diseases from the environment


While many infectious diseases are caused by human-to-human transmission, others are caused by microorganisms that exist in the outside environment. Scientists from a variety of fields, including medicine and the environment, must work together to address the challenges posed by these environmental pathogens, according to a new report, From Outside to Inside: Environmental Microorganisms as Human Pathogens, released today by the American Academy of Microbiology.

"The key difference between environmental pathogens and other human pathogens is their ability to survive and thrive outside the host. Their widespread occurrence in the environment makes them difficult to monitor and control," says Gerard Cangelosi of the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute at the University of Washington, one of the authors of the report. "The fields of medical and environmental microbiology need to be better integrated to stimulate the type of work that is required to combat environmental pathogens effectively, and the development and improvement of surveillance and reporting strategies should be a top priority."

Environmental pathogens are defined as microorganisms that normally spend a substantial part of their lifecycle outside human hosts, but when introduced to humans cause disease with measurable frequency. They are carried in the water, soil, air, food and other parts of the environment and can affect almost every individual on the planet. Some examples of environmental pathogens include Legionella pneumophila (the cause of Legionnaires disease, often found in air conditioning systems), West Nile virus, and Cryptosporidium parvum (a parasite that can be found in food, drinking water and recreational waters).

In addition to better integration of medical and environmental research, the report recommends more effective monitoring of pathogens in the environment to allow researchers to better understand the incidence and persistence of pathogens in areas that are considered to be at risk for harboring these organisms. Multidisciplinary research must also be fostered to better predict how changes in the environment may affect the frequency of environmental diseases.

"These threats to human health can only be assessed in a comprehensive multidisciplinary context in which ecology, epidemiology, and emerging areas in environmental engineering and microbiology are integrated. This combined approach can yield immediate and long-term health benefits by mitigating established environmental risks, identifying risky situations for disease emerging and finding the causes of diseases of unknown etiology," says Cangelosi.

The report is the result of a colloquium convened by the Academy in February 2004 to discuss environmental pathogens and the current state of research on these organisms. Scientists with expertise in infectious diseases, food microbiology, bacteriology, molecular biology, microbial ecology, pathogenic mycology and other areas in the microbiological sciences participated. Participants considered the knowledge gaps related to the incidence and epidemiology of environmental infectious diseases, dynamics of human pathogens in the environment, ways to alleviate environmental infectious diseases, research needs in the field and education and communication issues.

Angelo R. Bouselli | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

nachricht Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>