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Rainfall and temperature increases are precursors to cholera epidemics.

Washington, June 1 (ANI): As disease surges in Haiti and Africa, scientists have discovered rain and temperature fluctuations in at-risk areas could predict epidemics months in advance.

After analyzing several years of disease and environmental data from cholera-endemic areas of Zanzibar, Tanzania, scientists from the International Vaccine Institute in Seoul, Korea found that a mere one degree Celsius increase in the average monthly minimum temperature was a warning sign that cholera cases were likely to double within four months.

Similarly, a 200-millimeter increase in monthly rainfall totals indicated a slightly lower but still substantial increase could be expected within two months.

The authors note their work eventually could allow public health authorities in areas where cholera is common to anticipate outbreaks and move to intervene, given that such measures as vaccines are far less effective once an epidemic is in full swing.

Moreover, cholera outbreaks are on the rise while in the coming decades as climate experts have predicted hotter and wetter weather in many cholera-endemic areas that could add fuel to the fire.

"Our work validates the notion that rainfall and temperature increases are often precursors to cholera outbreaks in vulnerable areas," said Rita Reyburn, a Research Associate at IVI and the study lead author. "

The study has been published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. (ANI)

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Publication:Asian News International
Date:Jun 1, 2011
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