Scientists have found a connection between the number of cases of diarrhea and data on air temperature, day length and air humidity.
Scientists from the University of Surrey suggest that they will be able to predict future outbreaks of the disease, according to a study published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology, writes MedicalXpress
A group of scientists investigated the effect of weather on the transmission of campylobacteriosis, a bacterial infection that can cause diarrhea and stomach pain.
According to the World Health Organization, Campylobacter infections are the world’s most common causes of bacterial gastroenteritis in humans.
The disease is usually mild but can be fatal in infants, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems.
“Since the time of Hippocrates, there has been a broad consensus that weather and climate affect the spread of disease. Now there is a detailed description of how the weather affects the disease, and the next step is to understand the cause.
Diseases such as campylobacteriosis not only cause discomfort to people, but also have a huge impact on society as employers have to call in sick to work, putting additional pressure on health services around the world“, said Giovanni Lo Iacono, a senior lecturer at the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of Surrey.
Scientists analyzed approximately 1 million cases of campylobacteriosis in England and Wales over a 20-year period. Later, they created a mathematical model that allowed them to match this data with information from the weather service.
The number of cases of campylobacteriosis was constant when the air temperature dropped below 8°C.
A sharp increase in incidence (approximately 1 case per million) was observed for each 5° increase in temperature, up to a temperature range of 8°C to 15°C.
The spread of the disease was also influenced by humidity – the number of patients increased when the level of water vapor in the air was between 75% and 80%.
Scientists also found a connection between the length of daylight (more than 10 hours) and an increase in the number of cases of the disease.
At the same time, the amount of precipitation and wind speed were not strongly associated with the spread of campylobacteriosis.
“We found that increasing temperature, humidity, and increasing day length are associated with the spread of campylobacteriosis. We don’t quite understand why this might be. Perhaps the warm weather increases the spread of disease-causing bacteria, or perhaps the increase in the number of contacts between people contributes to this.
So climate change not only affects the environment, but can also negatively affect our health, contributing to the spread of infectious diseases“, added Dr. Lo Iacono.
Read also: Every additional degree of warming reduces the Earth’s water resources: what it can lead to