A study by the coordinator of the Research Group on Climate at the Barcelona Science Park, University of Barcelona, Dr Xavier Rodó, and other researchers at the University of Michigan and the International Center for Diarrhoeal Disease Research in Bangladesh, provides evidence not only that climatic variation associated with the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) affects the appearance of cholera epidemics, as shown by a previous publication in Science by the same group, but also that the relationship has become stronger in the past few years, in parallel with the intensification of ENSO caused by climatic change. The study is to be published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) on 17 September.
The relation between infectious diseases and climate has been a subject of controversy in the scientific community in recent years. According to Rodó, this study “is one of the first demonstrations of the possible effects of climatic change on the incidence of infectious diseases”. In addition, the study has led to the development of a new statistical tool that has enabled researchers to show that the correlation between cholera and climate is three times as strong as that shown by earlier statistical studies.
The study was performed in cooperation with Mercedes Pascual at the University of Michigan and George Fuchs and Anwaral S. G. Faruque at the International Center for Diarrhoeal Disease Research in Bangladesh.
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