Risk to Europe’s most dangerous pathogens revealed

From Eurekalert

Public Release: 2-Aug-2017

University of Liverpool

The impact of climate change on the emergence and spread of infectious diseases could be greater than previously thought, according to new research by the University of Liverpool.

The study, published in Scientific Reports, is the first large-scale assessment of how climate affects bacterium, viruses or other microorganisms and parasites (pathogens) that can cause disease in humans or animals in Europe.

The results will help policy makers prioritise the surveillance for pathogens that may respond to climate change and, in turn, contribute to strengthening climate change resilience for infectious diseases.

 

Epidemics

 

There is growing evidence that climate change is altering the distribution of some diseases, in some cases causing epidemics or making diseases spread within their natural range, for example, Zika virus in South America, or bluetongue and Schmallenberg disease in livestock in Europe.

Dr Marie McIntyre, who led the project at the University’s Institute of Infection and Global Health, explained: “Although there is a well-established link between climate change and infectious disease, we did not previously understand how big the effects will be and which diseases will be most affected.

“Climate sensitivity of pathogens is a key indicator that diseases might respond to climate change, so assessing which pathogens are most climate-sensitive, and their characteristics, is vital information if we are to prepare for the future.”

 

Largest effects

 

The researchers carried out a systematic review of published literature on one hundred human and one hundred domestic animal pathogens present in Europe that have the largest impact on health.

Nearly two-thirds of the pathogens examined were found to be sensitive to climate; and two-thirds of these have more than one climate driver, meaning that the impact of climate change upon them will likely be multifaceted and complex.

Diseases spread by insects and ticks (vector-borne diseases) were found to be the most climate sensitive, followed by those transmitted in soil, water and food. The diseases with the largest number of different climate drivers were Vibrio cholerae (cause of cholera), Fasciola hepatica (cause of liver fluke), Bacillus anthracis (cause of anthrax) and Borrelia burgdorferi (cause of tickborne Lyme disease).

 

Future effects

 

Dr Marie McIntyre, commented: “Currently, most models examining climate effects only consider a single or at most two climate drivers, so our results suggest that this should change if we really want to understand future impacts of climate change on health.”

Zoonotic pathogens – those that spread from animals to humans – were also found to be more climate sensitive than those that affect only humans or only animals. As 75% of emerging diseases are zoonotic, emerging diseases may be particularly likely to be impacted by climate change.

However, the researchers stress that their response to climate change will also be dependent on the impacts of other drivers, such as changes to travel and trade, land-use, deforestation, new control measures and the development of antimicrobial resistance.

 

Big Data

 

The top 100 human and animals list was compiled using the Enhanced Infectious Disease Database (EID2), – a comprehensive and open-access ‘Big Data’ record of over 60 million scientific papers, electronic sources and textbooks associated with infectious diseases that was developed in Liverpool.

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The study received funding support from the Natural Environment Research Council and the Principle Investigator received funding from The Leverhulme Trust.

The full paper, entitled ‘Systematic Assessment of the Climate Sensitivity of Important Human and Domestic Animals Pathogens in Europe’, can be found here once the embargo lifts http://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-06948-9

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

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91 thoughts on “Risk to Europe’s most dangerous pathogens revealed

    • Perfectly stupid, yes!

      “There is growing evidence that climate change is altering the distribution of some diseases, in some cases causing epidemics or making diseases spread within their natural range, for example, Zika virus in South America, or bluetongue and Schmallenberg disease in livestock in Europe.”

      What evidence? As we are not warming, what possible “evidence” can they marshall. It clearly states, thus, that everything they say are lies. Wow. What an easy diagnosis.

      • I especially like the “…making diseases spread within their natural range…” but the “…in some cases causing epidemics…” is also rather questionable. I don’t know if Dr Marie wrote that particular sentence or it came out of the PR department but what ever they were smoking sounds interesting.

      • No, No, No. Not so. Applying the Panglossian principle that we are currently in the best of all possible worlds, any changes are self evidently bad and can only make things. H/t Voltaire.

  1. Quote: The impact of climate change on the emergence and spread of infectious diseases could be greater than previously thought …

    There it is. Right up front. The favourite weasel word of unscience, COULD.

    Want to find out about how climate affects anything? Go to a cold part of the world, then go 200km up the road to a warmer part. See what happens!

    Now, where’s my grant money.

    • I’m looking forward to seeing their graphs correlating all these diseases with warmth.. I suspect the disease correlation will more closely match poverty and trend with economic wealth than temperature..

      • Virus hitches a ride on a tourist and as a result infects an area it has never infected before.
        Yet it’s still blamed on CO2.

      • MarkW – “ride on a tourist” is the obvious cause. Unless global warming causes global wealth, enabling more and more people to visit places they couldn’t before.

      • In Landscapes and Cycles it was pet amphibians that spread disease around the world but the green blob opposed moves to save as yet unaffected populations as that would admit that their global warming scare story on the cause was not true. They have no problem in letting animals and people die for their cause.

  2. wordpress doesn’t like some word I’m posting….let’s see if there’s a work around :)

    we don’t even quar an tein people…don’t even have to be up on their shots….hop a plane all over the world
    ….what are these loons talking about

    • Well, they certainly AREN’T talking about the fact that the greatest malaria outbreak in the Western world was pretty much in the middle of the Little Ice Age…

  3. Pulled from big data analysis of 60 million sources? So how exactly do they verify the veracity of these? The answer is they obviously can’t and don’t, so there is no way you can take their results seriously.

    • For the years 1990 – 2015, how does the number of cases per state correlate with the average temperature of that state for each year?

    • It’s worse than we feared. Look at how many malaria deaths were in the US in 1870. Imagine what they are up to know with our increased temps and populations!

    • diogenesnj …. that has more to do with accurate tests for Lyme….in the beginning there was more than 35% false negatives….as the testing has gotten better…more cases are qualified

    • I read in WaPo a week or so ago that there are more white-footed mice, which are carriers of the Lyme-bearing tick, as a result of a bountiful acorn harvest two years earlier. Also, the deer population in the Northeast has exploded, partly because sentimentalists resist letting them be shot as nuisances.

      • They should be shot and eaten.

        One buck can cover ten does, so why not shoot nine out of 20 whitetail nuisances?

      • Rumour has it that some of the white tailed deer and elk have mad cow disease. Hunters are encouraged to have the brains of the deer and elk that they are proposing to eat checked by the fish and game in Wisconsin. In addition, the proportion of population that is able to handle firearms competently and hunt has decreased.

      • otsar, here in West Virginia they call it Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and there has been an outbreak in the white tail deer population in parts of Hampshire County for the last several years.

    • A positive correlation (two things changing together) is not proof of causation (one thing causing the other). Even if they are right about the changes they report (and they are only based on literature review rather than new data), how can they possibly prove a causal link with climate change?

    • Brilliant,
      Did you look an note that several of the warmest States like Florida, Texas and California have almost zero incidence of Lyme disease?
      Also remember virtually all the claimed warming is in the Northern Latitudes like the Arctic and that the highest incidence in States/regions close to the island in Connecticut where the massive infestation of the ticks was first found. I had deer feeding on my lawn yesterday in NJ in abundance and yes the ticks are in the woods in my back yard.
      Look at the warming in the Latitude where the incidence is highest showing very little warming over the period you mention.

      Here is the data showing a decline of maximum temperatures in the US Summertime:

      Even so why would you see a connection between the two issues?

    • “…compare the incidence of Lyme in 2000 vs 2015.”

      The most likely explanations for this increase in Lyme disease are the unchecked growth of Whitetail deer populations due to a combination of decline in deer hunting and the inability of municipalities (particularly in the Northeast) to curb resident deer populations, and increased reporting of incidents due to increasing public awareness of the disease and its symptoms and improved diagnostics.

  4. Lyme transmission is the intersection of 3 ecological cycles: acorns, deer and white-footed mice. As winters get milder, more deer and mice survive the winter, and as CO2 increases and temperature rises, more acorns are produced (leading to a mouse population boom).

  5. Huuurrreeey. . .huuuurrreeey. . . huuurrreeey folks! Step right up to the pandemic midway!! Get your genuine immunity shots right her . . . PLEASE. . .NO PUSHING AND SHOVING!! WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST . . . PREGNANT MOMS GET IN LINE . . . THERE’S ONLY A LIMITED AMOUNT . . . Your there in the back, why are you wearing that Zika Skeeter T-shirt? Hurrreeey. . .hurreeyy. . .folks . . .

    • DDT was never iilegal for vector contoll. Only for widespread use in fighting bugs in farming.

  6. diogenesnj commented: “…You should believe this one…..”

    It’s only been 60 years since Lime disease was identified and you’re making a direct correlation between a rise in the disease and ‘Climate Change’? Maybe, just maybe it’s because we are getting better at identifying it and there’s more people to contract it? How about all the past periods of acorn proliferation that were due to natural climate variability? Oak trees have been around for a long time. This is the type of silly, alarmist drivel that the MSM bombards the people with.

  7. Well this is my area. I do infectious diseases every day as my speciality. It is true that climate change can influence pathogens and transmission, especially when there are environmental vectors involved such as biting insects and natural hosts. That said the burden of infections on humans is mostly related to diseases we get directly or indirectly from other humans and the major part of the increase in health and longevity enjoyed by our species over the last century was brought about by a dramatic decline in infectious diseases and their attendant mortality. This, while the climate has been reportedly warming for whatever reason. In particular child mortality has plummeted. It would seem both warming and the modernization that comes with cheap available energy have been a massive boon to humans, so if the authors of this research were trying to scare us into ceremonial sacirificical practices to change the weather, this will fail.

    Some of the mentioned infections certainly are influenced by human practices such as herding, standing water management, food handling etc., but those are not necessarily linked to climate changes. The reported increase in Lyme incidence in North America is true, but may be partly exaggerated by detection bias and inaccurate laboratory testing in private labs. The major part for the increase appears directly due to the return of agricultural land to natural forrest and the attendant increase in deer population in states that have very little evidence of any recent warming. Malaria, a truely powerful killer has declined in incidence to the point of erradication in most of the US and Canada as we moved out of the little ice age into the modern warm period, so can’t point to global warming as an issue there either. The main factor was better living standards, management of mosquitoes (e.g. DDT) and elimination of the human reservoir of infected individuals through treatment.

    When were the worst times for contagion as a cause of human suffering and death – look back to the cold periods when crops failed, nutrition declined, plagues emerged, dysentery increased and having a child live past infancy was considered a stroke of luck. No way will these fools convince me that warming is going to harm human health through infectious diseases.

    • Well said.

      No accident that the Black Death (AD 1347) arrived with falling temperatures at the end of the Medieval WP or beginning of LIA.

      So too the Plague of Justinian (AD 541) during the onset of the Dark Ages Cold Period.

    • Thank you Andrew for some common sense and reality.
      The magical words get attached to too many issues by default and the connections are tenuous at best and criminal at worst.

    • One could guess the Lyme disease increase in North America is in part due to the deer population explosion & the accompanying increase in deer ticks (the carriers).

    • I came across reports of the “unknown” disease affecting mid EU sheep and followed it
      it got named Schmallenberg from the first reported area
      they think? its from midges but they had NOT managed to find isolate OR prove that at all last i heard.
      but its oh it never occurred before is so new etc etc
      causes abortions and failure to thrive..hmm so do many other virals
      and it managed to jump to the islands in UK scotland etc rather fast
      oh twas the midges got blown there they said.
      hmm
      or was it more likely to be an unforseen mutation caused BY a vaccine they started using?
      and then those sheep going to sales
      why do i say that?
      well the unusual not Parvo outbreak killing dogs in usa turns out to be a porcine circovirus..which pigs get a vax for and dogs n pig n shit etc all it takes is a pigfarm workers dirty car wheels boots etc
      same again was the horseflu vax used in usa combo of some insane series of viruses inc DOGflu strains
      greyhounds use the same tracks the virus excretes live and dogs picked it up
      they go home and pet dogs etc got it
      so did many rescue dogs
      thousands were euthanased rather than pay for a/ biotics to treat it.

    • ” No way will these fools convince me that warming is going to harm human health through infectious diseases.”

      But they’re darned well going to try. :)

  8. Perhaps they could do another study on how Global Warming affects the spread of Muslims in Europe. They seem to be a bigger danger than pathogens.

    • cultures that invade and destroy the host are the same no matter how many cells each individual possesses.

      Stuff that survives does so because conditions favour its survival.

  9. There’s a reason why these wild stories get published. It’s the science equivalent of, “Tell me something I didn’t know.”

    To get published, research has to be new (but not novel) and important. Studies can’t get published if they find no effect from climate change. It’s that simple. It’s called publication bias.

  10. Yet the plagues were associated with the LIA, not the RWP.
    The relentless deception of the climate obsessed is pathology worth studying.

    • When it cooled off outside, all the rats which had the fleas that spread the plague moved inside to get away from the cold. So in that case the colder, not warmer, weather/climate did help spread it.

  11. In remember when, according to the Warmists, warm climate would bring malaria descending throughout Europe and America. Until someone reminded the morons that malaria was epidemic throughout Southern Europe from ancient times, thru Siberia and into Asia, likewise, epidemic throughout the Americas all the way up to Massachusetts. When weather claimed to be cooler.

    • The Rideau Canal in Ontario built after the war of 1812 (LIA) brought death to canal workers by malaria and yellow fever. When our generation is gone, history, which is the bane of Malarxists, has already been stamped out in the last couple of generations.

  12. They must have this kind of stuff on a revolving file for slow climate crises days. This has been raised over the past decade a number of times and its always worse than we thought last time. I’m sure that the climatician courses list all these things that climate supposedly exacerbates so they can choose juicy scare scenarios. “Ya know, Charlotte, we haven’t hit them with this one for a few years now. Let’s drop the work you are doing on another scary reason for fighting global greening caused by fracking and cigar smoking.”

    Two ‘tells’ that give the a sсам ашау are:

    1) that they never ever (it is verboten in ideologue circles) have said one thing that may be good about elevated carbon dioxide. It just isn’t possible for such a thing in science. Cost AND benefit are the Bobsey twins of appraisals of change.

    2) CO2 and warming are always bad for people, animals and plants, but never for their diseases and parasites. And yet we know these scary creatures are killed off by temperatures above body temperatures-fevers are one of our lines of defense we put up to weaken pathogens so we can finish them off.

    These are two arguments I use to argue sсам with those I debate and to fortify a grandson being fed propaganda at school. I say name me two things that are good about elevated carbon dioxide and warmth. They always find at least two. One wag mentioned бomбing of нiгоsнiма. I said yes it was obviously terrible for many, but it ended a terrible war and probably saved more lives over all.

    • They must have this kind of stuff on a revolving file for slow climate crises days.

      That’s exactly what I was thinking. They’re just pulling out the same silly stories over and over again.

  13. An interesting phenomena occurring this year which I doubt has nothing to do with pathogens or viruses but instead my plants – i have a new sport on my 12 year old clematis, white rather than pink, my bicolor verbena have two different reversions to the parent on two different plants, one a solid, the other a bicolor, neither hue resembling the hybrid, and my purple balloon flowers that i have had for at least 5 years are now displaying a few white flowers, although there are no white balloon flowers anywhere that I have seen nearby. Anybody have an explanation why this may be happening? It’s so bizarre, I have been gardening for decades and never seen anything like it.

      • I have done the research, I can’t understand why so many instances in one summer and none before.

    • StaceyD – I am having similar changes in the colors of my Chili plants. A couple of years ago, I became curious as to why my tiny Black Chili Pequins were black. Since no one has any like these (being a hybrid between ornamental and common pequines) noticed that at times they begin to loose their blackness. So I put shade cloth over them.

      In a couple of days, they begin to change color to a lighter (dark green) black.

      But this year, the pods began to change even without the cloth. And presently, all the plants have quit producing flowers. So markl, we have done the research.

      There are many signs in my garden that shows me the plants are going through some odd changes. My fast assumption was lack of water, so I stepped up with watering. BTDT –

      I am thinking that the Sun is the culprit.

  14. — The study, published in Scientific Reports, is the first large-scale assessment of how climate affects bacterium, viruses or other microorganisms and parasites (pathogens) that can cause disease in humans or animals in Europe.

    “Climate sensitivity of pathogens is a key indicator that diseases might respond to climate change, so assessing which pathogens are most climate-sensitive, and their characteristics, is vital information if we are to prepare for the future.” —

    The above two paras clearly indicate that the authors used “climate change” as an adjective to get hype. The study relates to climate only. Climate vary with seasons, years and as well locations. When the scientists develop a variety, they study the impact of weather on that at different phenological stages and so also on humans. It is well documented in the literature under certain weather conditions, different health hazards are common. These are known to local people traditionally.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

    • Might I add that they are their own worst enemies:

      Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in a way that reduces the effectiveness of drugs, chemicals, or other agents designed to cure or prevent infections. The bacteria survive and continue to multiply, causing more harm.

      Are we making diseases worse by trying to eradicate them?

      The ability for diseases to mutate based on the antibiotics we are subjecting them to is far more frightening than the could/may/possibly/potential CAGW horrors.

      • Yes, it is true. Researchers without knowing bring in new pests and diseases in to new areas or new countries. It is commonly seen with the new drugs. They are nothing to do with weather or climate.

        Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

  15. Given the revelations regarding the replication crisis in scientific studies, particularly in the bio-chem and epidemiology areas (not to mention climate), it is hard to take any “study of studies” seriously. Odds are that more than half of the data used is not valid. Unless a study like this says only studies that had been independently replicated were used, it’s worthless.

  16. “Zoonotic pathogens – those that spread from animals to humans – were also found to be more climate sensitive than those that affect only humans or only animals.”

    Well, spreading of all types is surely easier in warm and humid conditions than in a frostbite wind.

    Sapiens has never seen warmer temperatures than today. Never underestimate the microbes.

  17. Might as well make it three in a row on the same theme, research in search of a problem. We are being flooded by a series of “what if?” ancillary projects allegedly related to climate change issues. The Stanford report, the Berkeley report and now the Harvard report a priori accept the premise that climate change is human-induced and due to the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and bodes trouble for mankind. The premise itself is the issue in question. Until that issue is resolved, studies of the possible human effects of climate change are pointless and a waste of resources. Research on a predicated hypothesis is based on an illusion. An analogy would be invading Iraq because of a one percent chance that Iraq had WMDs. Not a good outcome.

    Some physicists (most recently President Rosenbaum of Caltech) now posit that nature cannot be modeled with Newtonian physics but possibly might be modeled with quantum physics. The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in December 2016 predicted a century of non-warming in which CO2 does not play a significant role. CERN concludes that climate models used by the United Nations Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to estimate future temperatures are too high and that the models should be redone. The CERN models are driven by quantum physics.

    Focusing research on untested hypotheses is the wrong research, and policies stemming from that research are the wrong policies. The “results” from such research stimulate baseless scare-mongering. Get the science right first, and the right policies will follow. Make America right again!

    These often-quoted thoughts have merit.

    Anon: “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge”.

    Anon: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it”.

  18. Some four years ago my sheep, here in Sweden, were vaccinated against bluetongue. This was, to my knowledge, the first time bluetongue had come to Sweden. As I understood it at the time, bluetongue had come from The Netherlands and the Dutch got it from Africa.
    I am an electrical engineer and knows very little about this subject, but conmen sense would suggest to me that this has way more to do with international trade of agricultural products, than some fractions of degree kelvin up or down.

  19. From one unprovable hypothesis, to another unproven hypothesis.

    The two subjects, CC and Bacteria are barely understood yet these idiots have the arrogance to make future predictions based on their simplistic understanding of both.

  20. I think we should all write to Liverpool University asking if we can get research facilities and GRANT money from them to publish theories that climate change has led to an increase in boils, athletes foot, warts, frogs (yes I know) and glue ear, etc.

  21. The main factor in human/animal disease spreading its range (and alien invasive animals/plants issues) is massive levels of human mobility and trade import/export in the modern world. The refuges from the 1st Gulf war caused malaria to recur in countries where it had previously been eliminated, not global warming.

  22. “The diseases with the largest number of different climate drivers were Vibrio cholerae (cause of cholera)”

    Which was a big killer in european cities during the Little Ice Age but miraculously disappeared as climate warmed /sarc

    Of course it had nothing to do with climate. Only with the quality of drinking water.

  23. So cold Maine (averaging 41.0F year round) should be much healthier than warm Florida (averaging 70.7F year round.) But wait, Maine life expectancy is 79.2 years while Florida’s is 79.4 years. Obviously some data homogenization is needed.

  24. Dr Marie McIntyre, commented: “Currently, most models examining climate effects only consider a single or at most two climate drivers, so our results suggest that this should change if we really want to understand future impacts of climate change on health.”

    In other words in their virtualize world of unverified effects, virtual Europe returns to having great virtualized plagues by the action of virtual vector-borne diseases.
    All very true in this virtual world of Dr Marie McIntyre et al., I wonder if they will ever get around to attempting to verify their finding in this world. Maybe not as that would involve them in actually leaving their comfortable office.

  25. “There is growing evidence that climate change is altering the distribution of some diseases”

    Where?

  26. Seems to be quite a bit of circular argumentation in the report. “Emerging diseases” are more likely to be ones that have two or more climate “drivers”, and zoonotic diseases are more likely to “climate…driven” than the rest. And Presto! 75% of emerging diseases are zoonotic.

    Don’t know that I have the stomach to read all the gory methods used to torture and maim the data with statistics.

    But one has to stand in awe of the claim that:

    “The top 100 human and animals list was compiled using the Enhanced Infectious Disease Database (EID2), – “a comprehensive and open-access ‘Big Data’ record of over 60 million scientific papers, electronic sources and textbooks associated with infectious diseases that was developed in Liverpool”

    was “used” to compile a “top 100 human and animals list”. Talk about apples and oranges. How many of the 60 million were scientific papers, and how many were “electronic sources” (do tweets and facebook posts count?), never mind the “textbooks”, traditional repositories of superseded myths and propaganda.

    I went to the EID2 page, downloaded the 24 page “documentation”, and was, frankly disappointed to see a piddling chart of some 37 pathogens which didn’t even include my favourite, Nagleria fowleri, a sure bet to beat out my second favourite, rabies virus, for responsiveness to changing temperature, nor my third choice, Trichinella spiralis (admittedly not so responsive to temperature variation).

    I’m guessing this is basically a publicity campaign to find supporters for this Liverpool database of odds and ends.

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