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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Infectious Disease' Category


24
Jul

Environmental Pollutants, including Pesticides, Can Increase Susceptibility to Infectious Diseases

(Beyond Pesticides, July 24, 2020) As the novel coronavirus pandemic has heightened awareness of infectious diseases, there is increased attention to connections between environmental concerns and such diseases, including factors that may exacerbate their transmission. New research shows one such relationship: the transmission of schistosomiasis, a tropical disease caused by contact with the larvae of parasitic worms (schistosomes), is likely accelerated by the use of pesticides and other agrochemicals (such as synthetic fertilizers). The study, published in The Lancet Planetary Health, also shows that contamination of freshwater bodies with these chemicals disturbs ecological balances that can actually limit schistosome infections. This new research underscores the urgency of the needed transition, in affected tropical and subtropical areas, to agricultural approaches that do not involve synthetic agrochemicals that pollute local waterways and put people’s health at increased risk. Beyond Pesticides recently covered another study, published in Nature’s Scientific Reports in February 2020, that indicates that agricultural pesticide runoff indirectly increases rates of transmission of schistosomiasis. The transmission landscape for this disease is complex, in part because one of the parasite’s vectors are freshwater snails, which: (1) play an important role in schistosomes’ life cycle, (2) are relatively resistant to the effects of pesticides, […]

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