Breaking News
March 27, 2019 - Managing MS
March 27, 2019 - Researchers reveal how receptor TLR-9 protects against lupus
March 27, 2019 - Doctors share story of daughter’s treatment for leukemia
March 27, 2019 - Medical Center Hosts Networking Session for Women’s History Month
March 27, 2019 - Positive link found between anxiety during childhood, adolescence with later alcohol use disorders
March 27, 2019 - Coronary artery calcium indicates patients’ imminent risk of a heart attack
March 27, 2019 - Luxia Scientific partners with Life Genomics to commercialize microbiome-based tests in the Nordic countries
March 26, 2019 - New mathematical algorithm objectively classifies shapes of neurons in the brain
March 26, 2019 - Research suggests oxytocin as potential new obesity treatment
March 26, 2019 - Education may not protect against dementia as previously thought
March 26, 2019 - Stanford acquires archive of palliative care pioneer Elisabeth Kübler-Ross | News Center
March 26, 2019 - New research aims to turn worms against parasite-associated cancer
March 26, 2019 - Psychological evolution may help explain differences between male and female serial killers
March 26, 2019 - New molecular mechanism involved in pancreas repair identified
March 26, 2019 - Obesity linked to reproductive problems in women with type 1 diabetes
March 26, 2019 - New short-pulse ultrasound technique enhances drug delivery to brains of mice
March 26, 2019 - Researchers uncover mechanism that initiates sexual organs maturation
March 26, 2019 - DermBiont Begins Phase 2 Clinical Trial for Athlete’s Foot with a Live Bacterial Topical Probiotic
March 26, 2019 - Persons with Alzheimer’s disease have a higher risk of head injuries
March 26, 2019 - Mental health issues associated with income inequalities in Indigenous people
March 26, 2019 - Participation in sports linked with fewer depressive symptoms in children
March 26, 2019 - Brain process common to sleep and aging discovered
March 26, 2019 - People under age 50 with hearing loss more likely to misuse alcohol and drugs
March 26, 2019 - People with and without cancer use different dosages of cannabis formulations, study shows
March 26, 2019 - Young people at risk of addiction show differences in key brain region
March 26, 2019 - In virtual exchange, students in California and Lebanon unite to improve refugee health
March 26, 2019 - Trump Administration Changes Course, Asks Court To Strike Down ACA
March 26, 2019 - People with untreated diabetes develop signs of Alzheimer’s disease at a faster rate
March 26, 2019 - Study explains how bright colors evolved and diversified in male guppies
March 26, 2019 - Savings from lower insurance costs of growth hormone drugs not passed on to patients
March 26, 2019 - Study highlights the need to pay more attention on specific nutritional needs of female athletes
March 26, 2019 - Sleep quality varies throughout menstrual cycle in young women
March 26, 2019 - A1c diabetes blood test found to be unreliable
March 26, 2019 - Younger Female Blood Donors Vulnerable to Iron Deficiency
March 26, 2019 - Prostate cancer cells ‘spit out’ a protein that promotes tumor growth
March 26, 2019 - Finding the elusive drinking ‘brake’
March 26, 2019 - Using the Mastermind strategy in brain research
March 26, 2019 - Symptomatic pharmacotherapy of elderly people should be regularly monitored
March 26, 2019 - Synthetic biological logic gate could one day be used to modify cellular function
March 26, 2019 - Damage to anxiety-associated brain region heightens monkeys’ defensive response
March 26, 2019 - Researchers uncover large-scale brain patterns and networks which control sleep
March 26, 2019 - Scientific Symposium at LABVOLUTION focuses on key issues in life sciences
March 26, 2019 - Screen time plus snacking could increase risk for metabolic syndrome in teens
March 26, 2019 - Attention, Seniors: Drink More Water and Head Off Disease
March 26, 2019 - Peptide shows promise for protecting kidneys from nephritis
March 26, 2019 - Causes of diabetes decline or disappear when ‘zombie cells’ are removed, shows study
March 26, 2019 - Scientists identify common genetic variants associated with post-stroke recovery
March 26, 2019 - Study finds link between menopause and changes in body composition
March 26, 2019 - Higher levels of sex hormones in older men related to lower biological age
March 26, 2019 - Research links participation in team sports to larger hippocampal volumes in children
March 26, 2019 - Cerveau announces research collaboration agreement with Eisai for novel tau imaging agent
March 26, 2019 - New technique measures frequency of sounds emitted from biological structures
March 26, 2019 - Removal of ‘zombie cells’ alleviates causes of diabetes in obese mice
March 26, 2019 - Women exposed to deepwater horizon oil spill continue to experience PTSD symptoms
March 26, 2019 - Shaping new treatments for tuberculosis
March 26, 2019 - Understanding genetic interactions holds key to new personalized therapies
March 26, 2019 - Nervous system relies on guidance cues for neuronal axons to reach destinations
March 26, 2019 - Altering gut microbiome may be potential treatment option for PCOS
March 26, 2019 - Moleculin Files with FDA for Expedited Approval Pathway for Annamycin
March 26, 2019 - GPs play pivotal role in ensuring success of new Faster Diagnosis Standard for Cancer
March 26, 2019 - New clues discovered to lung transplant rejection
March 26, 2019 - New study offers insight into development of delusions
March 26, 2019 - Children’s ball pits full of pathogenic microbes
March 26, 2019 - Exploring pathophysiological factors that link sleep problems and Alzheimer’s disease
March 26, 2019 - Walking downhill after meals can reduce bone resorption in postmenopausal women with diabetes
March 26, 2019 - USA LESS Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall of LEOPARD Miracle Honey Due to Presence of Undeclared Sildenafil
March 26, 2019 - CT scan prior to spine fusion finds almost half of patients had undiagnosed osteoporosis
March 26, 2019 - After 2 Apparent Student Suicides, Parkland Grieves Again
March 25, 2019 - Inherited form of rickets improves more with new injectable medicine than conventional therapy
March 25, 2019 - Trastuzumab Tied to Higher Long-Term Risk for Heart Failure
March 25, 2019 - Personal context directly affects CPAP use
March 25, 2019 - Mosquito tracking key to preventing disease outbreaks
March 25, 2019 - Scientists Detect Hidden Signals from Beneficial Bacteria
March 25, 2019 - Treating women with thyroid antibodies with Levothyroxine do not increase live birth rate
March 25, 2019 - Brain area that only processes spoken, not written words identified
March 25, 2019 - Race and ethnicity influence fracture risk in diabetic patients
March 25, 2019 - Researchers report new regenerative medicine approach for treating osteoarthritis of the knee
March 25, 2019 - Exposure to dim light at night may contribute to spread of breast cancer to bones
March 25, 2019 - Benefits of osteoporosis treatment in postmenopausal women outweigh the perceived risks
March 25, 2019 - Researchers find evidence of Cryptosporidium parasite in Minnesota’s public water systems
Public health research seeks to understand how natural disasters impact spread of Zika

Public health research seeks to understand how natural disasters impact spread of Zika

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
Public health research seeks to understand how natural disasters impact spread of Zika
Homes in Ecuador destroyed by the 2016 earthquake. The damage left tens-of-thousands displaced across the country. Credit: University of South Florida

On April 16, 2016, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked the South American country of Ecuador. It was the most severe seismic event in nearly 40 years – killing roughly 700 people and displacing more than 70,000.

In the weeks and months that followed, tens-of-thousands of survivors sought access to shelter, food and clean water, with thousands of emergency personnel assisting in rescue and relief efforts across the country. But along with the visible devastation facing those throughout the affected region, another big, but not so obvious problem was quickly spreading.

A new study from researchers at the University of South Florida (USF) College of Public Health shows an alarming connection between this natural disaster and the number of Zika cases in Ecuador. The article, “Post-earthquake Zika virus surge: Disaster and public health threat amid climatic conduciveness,” published last month in Scientific Reports, outlines the explosion of Zika and provides insight into how these disasters can have hidden costs.

“There was clearly a significant increase in the number of Zika cases after the earthquake,” said Miguel Reina Ortiz, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Global Health. “We also saw that the areas that were most severely affected by the earthquake had the biggest increase in the number of cases of Zika.”

Reina, along with co-principal investigators Associate Professor Ricardo Izurieta, Ph.D., and Assistant Professor Ismael Hoare, Ph.D., collected and analyzed data from Ecuador’s Ministry of Public Health 18 weeks before and after the earthquake. The researchers also incorporated data from numerous sources encompassing earthquake impact, climatic variability and socio-economic factors. They found that the number of Zika cases were 34 times higher after the quake in the most severely impacted regions. In comparison, those areas that were mildly impacted saw their rates of disease nearly double.

“When we see any natural disasters hit, we become intensely focused on helping those affected by the physical impact, such as rescuing people in damaged buildings. That is the priority,” said Hoare. “But, other ancillary programs, like vector control, may not receive similar attention. This data shows the need for those programs is also very important.”

Credit: University of South Florida

Researchers say while they did not specifically look at the physical conditions that led to the rise in Zika, they are able to make informed hypotheses as to why the explosion occurred. The team points identified structural damage and disruption in water services leading to an accumulation of standing water that favors the breeding of mosquitoes that spread the disease. They also say damage to homes, which might force people to spend more time outdoors, leaves people at a higher risk of exposure to the vectors.

“When there is a disruption in the ecology and infrastructure, these diseases that may not be seen as endemic can suddenly arise,” Izurieta said. “It’s important that we use this data to inform our decision making before and after disasters occur.”

While the study did directly examine the events in Ecuador, researchers believe it can also shed light on the potential risk other regions around the world face, including Florida. Hurricanes, for example, can create similar environmental conditions to what was seen after the earthquake. And, because of Florida’s tropical climate and weather conditions, experts say the emergence of viruses here is possible.

In fact, this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported nearly 100 new cases of Zika in Florida. USF researchers say the state’s vector control system, which is one of the best the country, has been successful in keeping the spread of the disease to a minimum. They warn, however, that in the event of a severe natural disaster, an increase in cases is possible, especially if locally transmitted cases are reported right before the disaster.

“For that reason, the message is that a disaster like an earthquake or hurricane can disrupt, not only the environmental and infrastructure conditions, but also place populations at higher risk to acquire all sorts of diseases,” said Izurieta.

Through this research, the USF team has developed a statistical model they hope to apply to other areas experiencing a variety of disasters. The hope is to build a diverse understanding of the issue to be able to better inform policy makers of the importance of maintaining vector control initiatives when disasters strike.


Explore further:
CDC shutters command center for Zika monitoring

More information:
Miguel Reina Ortiz et al. Post-earthquake Zika virus surge: Disaster and public health threat amid climatic conduciveness, Scientific Reports (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-15706-w

Journal reference:
Scientific Reports

Provided by:
University of South Florida

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles