Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Dry landscapes can increase disease transmission

20.06.2018

In water-limited landscapes sick animals can have increased contact with healthy individuals, which can facilitate disease transmission. Scientists from the German Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) present these findings in the British Ecological Society journal Functional Ecology.

Sick individuals often behave differently. For example, they usually sleep more and eat less. Accordingly, one could expect that sick individuals have less contact with others than healthy individuals. Reduced contact should in turn slow down the spread of pathogens among individuals.


Dry landscapes can increase disease transmission

Pixabay

“We studied whether the opposite effect is also possible, i.e. whether sick individuals may have more contact with others, which could speed up the spread of pathogens,” explains Mathias Franz, research scientist at the Leibniz-IZW.

“For this purpose we simulated a population of virtual animals living in dry landscapes in which they regularly visit a single waterhole for drinking. We observed that sick individuals, who we assumed to be more lethargic, stayed closer to the waterhole. Because healthy individuals also visit the waterhole regularly, we found that lethargy leads to an increase in encounters between sick and healthy individuals”.

The results of the study show that the resulting increase in contact can therefore speed up the spread of pathogens.

The study shows that dry landscapes can change how sickness influences host behaviour in unexpected ways: instead of reducing contact and the spread of pathogens, sickness behaviour might lead to an increase in contact and pathogen transmission.

Based on this finding, the prediction is that the availability of drinking water can have far-reaching implications for the spread and evolution of pathogens. Specifically, the scientists hypothesize that the effect of sickness on behaviour is most pronounced in animals that are very dependent on regular access to limited drinking water - or any other limited resource.

This is for example the case for African buffaloes, which harbour important infectious diseases such as bovine tuberculosis. In conclusion, understanding how sickness affects behaviour could help predicting and controlling disease transmission within wildlife and between wildlife and domestic animals.

Publication:
Franz M, Kramer-Schadt S, Greenwood AD, Courtiol A (2018): Sickness-induced lethargy can increase host contact rates and pathogen spread in water-limited landscapes. Functional Ecology. Doi.10.1111/1365-2435.13149. https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2435.13149

Contact:
Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW)
in the Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Alfred-Kowalke-Str. 17
10315 Berlin
Germany

Dr Mathias Franz
Phone +49 30 5168-251
Email franz@izw-berlin.de

Steven Seet (Press Officer)
Phone +49 30 5168-125
Email seet@izw-berlin.de

Weitere Informationen:

https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2435.13149

Dipl.-Geogr. Anja Wirsing | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Further information:
http://www.fv-berlin.de

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Loss of habitat causes double damage to species richness
02.04.2019 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Deep decarbonization of industry is possible with innovations
25.03.2019 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

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: Quantum gas turns supersolid

Researchers led by Francesca Ferlaino from the University of Innsbruck and the Austrian Academy of Sciences report in Physical Review X on the observation of supersolid behavior in dipolar quantum gases of erbium and dysprosium. In the dysprosium gas these properties are unprecedentedly long-lived. This sets the stage for future investigations into the nature of this exotic phase of matter.

Supersolidity is a paradoxical state where the matter is both crystallized and superfluid. Predicted 50 years ago, such a counter-intuitive phase, featuring...

Im Focus: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Marine Skin dives deeper for better monitoring

23.04.2019 | Information Technology

Geomagnetic jerks finally reproduced and explained

23.04.2019 | Earth Sciences

Overlooked molecular machine in cell nucleus may hold key to treating aggressive leukemia

23.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>