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Rising Temperatures Could Stall the Fight Against Disease

Nov 03, 2014 12:07 PM EST

Water is one of the most common agents of illness, especially in highly populated regions with shared utilities. Now, a new report details how rising water temperatures across the globe could result in the increased prevalence of water-borne illnesses, making the prevention of disease far more difficult.

That's at least according to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change that details how China in particular could severely suffer from rising surface water temperatures.

Nature World News has previously reported how some pretty nasty bugs use water to infect a human host. We've talked about how the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA) have practically been on their hands and knees begging consumers to NOT wash their chicken before cooking it, as this will actually encourage the spread of a dangerous bacterium called Campylobacter.

We've also reported how rising water temperatures in the United States are creating more adequate environments for the deadly brain-eating amoeba Naegleria fowleri - an organism that kills about three swimmers in the country every year (34 cases in the last decade).

Now, this new study details how rising water temperatures could set back China's efforts to reduce water-borne diseases by at least seven years.

According to a United Nation's report, China has made some significant progress to improve clean water and sanitation, simultaneously reducing the prevalence of dangerous diseases. For instance, deaths related to water-transmitted diarrheal diseases fell by a whopping 94 percent between 1999 and 2010. Mosquito-borne illnesses, which need warm and shallow water to breed, also fell by up to 80 percent.

However, researchers now suspect that even more progress in this encouraging direction may be facing a significant delay. That's because projected water surface temperatures by the year 2030 will be so ideal for disease breeding that culling disease numbers may be set back by up to 85 months of work.

Still, that doesn't mean the work should stop. The researchers added that, as of 2011, 471 million people in China still lack access to proper sanitation and 401 million lack piped water in their homes. Success in combating disease will also depend on how quickly these needs are met, where the delays may be a mere eight months if ideal sanitation conditions are achieved across the country.

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