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 Road access for all would be costly, but not so much for the climate
10.07.2020 | Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung

nachricht Innovative grilling technique improves air quality
01.07.2020 | Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP

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: The spin state story: Observation of the quantum spin liquid state in novel material

New insight into the spin behavior in an exotic state of matter puts us closer to next-generation spintronic devices

Aside from the deep understanding of the natural world that quantum physics theory offers, scientists worldwide are working tirelessly to bring forth a...

Im Focus: Excitation of robust materials

Kiel physics team observed extremely fast electronic changes in real time in a special material class

In physics, they are currently the subject of intensive research; in electronics, they could enable completely new functions. So-called topological materials...

Im Focus: Electrons in the fast lane

Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.

Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....

Im Focus: The lightest electromagnetic shielding material in the world

Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.

Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...

Im Focus: Gentle wall contact – the right scenario for a fusion power plant

Quasi-continuous power exhaust developed as a wall-friendly method on ASDEX Upgrade

A promising operating mode for the plasma of a future power plant has been developed at the ASDEX Upgrade fusion device at Max Planck Institute for Plasma...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

International conference QuApps shows status quo of quantum technology

02.07.2020 | Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

X-ray scattering shines light on protein folding

10.07.2020 | Life Sciences

Looking at linkers helps to join the dots

10.07.2020 | Materials Sciences

Surprisingly many peculiar long introns found in brain genes

10.07.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>