"A temperature increase of one degree Celsius in spring may lead to a 50 percent increase in the prevalence of the plague bacterium," he stated to Uniforum, the University of Oslo’s own news bulletin.
Climate changes cannot lead to any new Black Death, but it is quite clear that a small increase in temperature may create more cases of bubonic plague than we have today,” said Professor Stenseth, who heads the international top-notch Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES) at the University of Oslo. Using field data from a national surveillance programme which monitored the stock of gerbils in Kazakhstan from 1949-1995, and using new statistical techniques, Stenseth and his team found a clear connection between the prevalence of the bacterium Yersina pestis in gerbils and climate variations.
"Samples from the annual rings of trees in Kazakhstan revealed that when the Black Death broke out there in the 14th century, the springs were warm and the summers were wet. Conditions were the same at the onset of the plague of the 1800’s in the same region," he explained. Stenseth obtained these figures from the Swiss researcher Jan Esper, one of the co-authors of the article. He is pleased that the researchers were given access to data from the health authorities’ surveillance programme in Kazakhstan.
After Kazakhstan initiated this surveillance programme in 1949, the cases of plague here decreased from over 100 cases a year to a few cases a year. In the past Stenseth and his colleagues have been close to finding out why the prevalence of the bacterium varies from year to year.
"In an article we wrote on this bacterium in Science in 2004, I had a feeling that there was a part of the variation which we couldn’t explain adequately. But we could have explained it, had we included climate as a cause of variation in the prevalence of this bacteria," Stenseth said to Uniforum.
Hence, one of the candidates of co-author Noelle I. Samia from the University of Iowa was given the task of running all the data of the surveillance programme through an advanced statistical analysis.
"The results of this work enabled us to write this article and conclude that climate changes have affected the prevalence of the bacterium which causes plague," Stenseth said. He was not sure what the conclusions would be after the investigations were finished.
"In the US, researchers have studied infectious diseases that are passed on among humans, indicating a similar connection between the prevalence of bacteria and climate changes, but this is the first time anyone has found a clear connection between the prevalence of the plague bacteria carried by gerbils and climate change," he stated.
"It was precisely in this area that the genetic and climatic conditions which brought on the Black Death and the Asian flu, emerged", he said.
It is the prevalence of the bacterium Yersina pestis which has been the subject of study for Nils Chr. Stenseth and his colleagues from the Universities of Norway, Kazakhstan, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium, UK and the US. This bacterium lives in gerbils in the semideserts and steppes of Central Asia, and it is passed from gerbils to other animals and humans through flea bites. The gerbils themselves are not infected by the plague bacterium, they merely serve as hosts.
"In central Asia people can also catch the plague through infected camel meat, as camels often lay in places with gerbil burrows," Stenseth explained.
New catalyst controls activation of a carbon-hydrogen bond
21.11.2017 | Emory Health Sciences
The main switch
21.11.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
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21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.11.2017 | Life Sciences