Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Weather, stomach bugs and climate change: Refining the model

06.06.2008
Monitoring extreme weather, such as periods of high temperature, is one way to predict the timing and intensity of infectious diseases like cryptosporidiosis, an intestinal disease that causes upset stomach and diarrhea.

Two public health researchers have created a model that takes into account weather and other factors that affect the number of people who will fall ill during an outbreak. With this model they show that the risk of weather-sensitive diseases may increase with climate variability or even gradual climate change. Better understanding of the ways in which climate can affect disease will help researchers forecast infectious disease outbreaks and design early warning systems.

In a paper published in Environmetrics, first author Elena Naumova, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Public Health and Family Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston and co-author Ian MacNeill, PhD, professor emeritus, in the Department of Statistics & Actuarial Sciences at the University of Western Ontario, introduce a model that takes into consideration the lag time between exposure and infection. The authors then demonstrate this model by analyzing the association between high temperature and daily incidence of cryptosporidiosis in Massachusetts from 1996-2001.

In this new model, Naumova and MacNeill consider several factors: outdoor temperature, base level of a disease in a community before an outbreak, the number of people infected throughout the course of the outbreak, and incubation time of a given disease. "It is this last factor that affects what we call the lag time," says Naumova, "infected individuals go on to infect others, and current models may be underestimating the number of cases in an outbreak by failing to account for lag time."

"To consider such time-distributed lags is a challenging task given that the length of a latent period varies from hours to months and depends on the type of pathogen, individual susceptibility to the pathogen, dose of exposure, route of transmission and many other factors," write the authors. "Using data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, we demonstrated that the number of cases of cryptosporidiosis increased and can be sustained over the 21 days following a temperature spike exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit. This model is able to provide an accurate estimate of cases of cryptosporidiosis that can be attributed to both lag time and the weather," says Naumova.

"We hope that this model can be expanded upon by public health researchers to gain insight into how disease is spread, and what populations are most susceptible. Our goal is to tailor this model for specific climate regions, infections and at-risk subpopulations, and look for patterns between outbreaks. Continually refining our models will enable us to assess the effects of climate change on human health and make better projections about future infectious disease outbreaks," says Naumova.

This work builds on Naumova's previous research developing mathematical models to predict, more accurately, the timing, severity and impact of diseases. Naumova, a biostatistician, is the director of the Tufts Initiative for the Forecasting and Modeling of Infectious Diseases (Tufts InForMID). This group aims to improve biomedical research by developing innovative computational tools in order to assist life science researchers, public health professionals, and policy makers. Her research focus is developing tools for time series and longitudinal data to study disease surveillance, exposure assessment, and studies of growth.

Siobhan Gallagher | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.tufts.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht From the Arctic to the tropics: researchers present a unique database on Earth’s vegetation
20.11.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Fading stripes in Southeast Asia: First insight into the ecology of an elusive and threatened rabbit
20.11.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

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: First diode for magnetic fields

Innsbruck quantum physicists have constructed a diode for magnetic fields and then tested it in the laboratory. The device, developed by the research groups led by the theorist Oriol Romero-Isart and the experimental physicist Gerhard Kirchmair, could open up a number of new applications.

Electric diodes are essential electronic components that conduct electricity in one direction but prevent conduction in the opposite one. They are found at the...

Im Focus: Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.

Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helping to Transport Proteins Inside the Cell

21.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Meta-surface corrects for chromatic aberrations across all kinds of lenses

21.11.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Removing toxic mercury from contaminated water

21.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>