Breaking News
February 19, 2018 - Study sheds light on biology that guides behavior across different stages of life
February 19, 2018 - Morning Break: Transgender Breast Feeding; Brazilian ‘Pro-Vaxxers’; Post-Stroke Exercise
February 19, 2018 - Meningitis vaccination strategy in Africa found to be effective, economical
February 19, 2018 - Researchers uncover how excess calcium may influence development of Parkinson’s disease
February 19, 2018 - Psoriasis drug also effective at reducing aortic inflammation
February 19, 2018 - Excess emissions can make serious contributions to air pollution, study shows
February 19, 2018 - Diabetes Drugs Differ on HF; School-Based Obesity Program Flop; Plaque Type in ACS
February 19, 2018 - Surgical infections linked to drug-resistant bugs, study suggests
February 19, 2018 - Poor awareness may hinder a child’s early dental care
February 19, 2018 - FDA Approves Apalutamide (Erleada) to Help Curb a Tough-to-Treat Prostate Cancer
February 19, 2018 - Educational Tool Boosts Cervical Length Screening
February 19, 2018 - Spider’s web inspires removable implant that may control type 1 diabetes
February 19, 2018 - Scientists develop fluorescent probe to identify cancer stem cells
February 19, 2018 - University Hospital of Santiago de Compostela participates in large pancreatic cancer study
February 19, 2018 - New blood test shows promise to revolutionize diagnosis of tick-borne diseases
February 19, 2018 - Report: Use, Not Price, Drives State Health Costs
February 19, 2018 - Emergency services crews often unprepared for diabetic crises
February 19, 2018 - Scientists in Sweden create DNA nanowires that offer hope for treatment of diseases
February 19, 2018 - ID Break: Clean Hands, Fewer Abx; $11 Million HIV Cure?; MenB Vax for Kids
February 19, 2018 - Patient exposure to X-rays depends on how dentists are paid
February 19, 2018 - Study reveals parents’ views toward children’s tanning bed use
February 19, 2018 - Shot may help reduce risk of shingles
February 19, 2018 - FDA approves first treatment to reduce risk of NSCLC progression
February 19, 2018 - FDA Expands Approval of Imfinzi (durvalumab) to Reduce the Risk of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Progressing
February 19, 2018 - D.C. Week: Congress Passes Spending Bill
February 19, 2018 - Heart-muscle patches made with human cells improve heart attack recovery
February 19, 2018 - FDA Approves First Blood Test to Detect Concussions
February 19, 2018 - Survival Bump in Bladder Cancer with Keytruda
February 18, 2018 - Scientists describe the mechanism of heart regeneration in the zebrafish
February 18, 2018 - Scientists uncover the structure of microtubule motor proteins
February 18, 2018 - Light-activated cancer drugs without toxic side effects are closer to becoming reality
February 18, 2018 - Pioneering research could provide novel insight into how genomic information is read
February 18, 2018 - Pearls From: David Putrino, PhD
February 18, 2018 - Researchers uncover how cancer stem cells drive triple-negative breast cancer
February 18, 2018 - Morning Break: Anti-Anti-Vaxxers; Private Piercings Prohibited; A Case for Pelvic Massage
February 18, 2018 - Lower-dose radiation effective, safe for HPV+ head and neck cancer after induction chemo
February 18, 2018 - Specialist residential service for adults with autism opens in Swansea
February 18, 2018 - FDA Moves to Limit Loperamide Doses per Package
February 18, 2018 - Alcohol use disorder – Genetics Home Reference
February 18, 2018 - Autism might be better detected using new two-minute questionnaire
February 18, 2018 - Hand hygiene-intervention practices may reduce risk of infection among nursing home patients
February 18, 2018 - Researchers develop most sophisticated mini-livers to date
February 18, 2018 - Obamacare Helped More Young Women Get Prenatal Care: Study
February 18, 2018 - School-Based Program Fails to Dent Kids’ Obesity
February 18, 2018 - Research compares neural activity in children with and without autism spectrum disorder
February 18, 2018 - Poor fitness levels increase the risk dementia, concludes study
February 18, 2018 - Risk Score May Reveal if Kids are Victims of Ill-Treatment
February 18, 2018 - Adding Folic Acid to Corn Masa Flour May Prevent Birth Defects
February 18, 2018 - Acute treatment suppresses posttraumatic arthritis in ankle injury
February 18, 2018 - A Role for Budesonide in Autoimmune Hepatitis?
February 18, 2018 - Lupus patients exhibit altered cell proteins, a discovery with potential implications for diagnostics
February 18, 2018 - Muscle plays vital role in regulating heat loss from the hands
February 18, 2018 - High-tech brain scans can provide new way to define intelligence
February 18, 2018 - Study reveals the association between ultra-processed foods and cancer
February 18, 2018 - Prescription Opioid Use Tied to Higher Pneumonia Risk
February 18, 2018 - A non-invasive method to detect Alzheimer’s disease
February 18, 2018 - Deletion of specific enzyme leads to improvement in memory and cognitive functions
February 18, 2018 - Amyloid protein may be transmitted through neurosurgical instruments, study suggests
February 18, 2018 - Electric brain signals of males and females show differences
February 18, 2018 - American Heart Association commends McDonald’s for offering healthier menu in kids’ meals
February 18, 2018 - Parents Find Kids’ Weight Report Cards Hard to Swallow
February 18, 2018 - Does a Financial Conflict of Interest Ever Expire?
February 18, 2018 - Exercise can improve Alzheimer’s symptoms
February 18, 2018 - Scientists develop green chemistry method to improve pharmaceutical manufacturing efficiency
February 17, 2018 - ‘A Time Clock to a Tissue Clock’ for Acute Stroke Care
February 17, 2018 - Cancer Care Gets Personal | NIH News in Health
February 17, 2018 - Do more youth use or do youth use more?
February 17, 2018 - Eating faster linked to obesity
February 17, 2018 - Who’s Still Smoking? ACS Report Highlights Most Vulnerable Adults
February 17, 2018 - Study of smoking and genetics illuminates complexities of blood pressure
February 17, 2018 - Study reveals new link between bone cells and blood glucose level
February 17, 2018 - Children with reading challenges may have lower than expected binocular vision test results
February 17, 2018 - Mass Shootings Trigger Change for Emergency Medicine
February 17, 2018 - ECMO helps revive woman thought to be drowned
February 17, 2018 - Learning stress-reducing techniques may benefit people with epilepsy
February 17, 2018 - Shedding Pounds Before Weight-Loss Surgery a Smart Move
February 17, 2018 - FDA Approves New Cystic Fibrosis Drug Combo
February 17, 2018 - Augmented Reality helps surgeons to ‘see through’ tissue and reconnect blood vessels
February 17, 2018 - Emotional state affects operation of the entire brain instead of being restricted to specific regions
February 17, 2018 - Apalutamide Slows Metastasis in Prostate Cancer
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