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All infectious diseases seasonal: Study

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

All infectious have a seasonal element, say scientists who have found that, depending on geography, even like B and Zika flare up with greater regularity certain times of the year.

Most of us are aware of the seasonal cycle of outbreaks.

Micaela Martinez, a at the Columbia Mailman School of Public in the US, collected information from the World Organization, the US Centers for Control and Prevention, and peer-reviewed publications to create a calendar of for 69 infectious diseases, from to

A given year will see outbreaks of in the winter, in the spring, and and in the summer -- to name a few of the best described seasonal outbreaks, according to the study published in the journal

Martinez found that seasonality occurs not just in acute infectious like but like B, which depending on geography, flares up with greater regularity certain times of the year.

Preliminary work has shown that even HIV-AIDS has a seasonal element, thought to be driven by seasonal changes in in agricultural settings.

The research describes four main drivers of seasonality in

Environmental factors like temperature and humidity regulate seasonal flu; in like Zika too, the environment plays a role in the proliferation of mosquitoes.

Host behaviours such as children coming into close proximity with each other during the school year are a factor in Ecological factors such as algae play a role the outbreak of

Seasonal biological rhythms, similar to those that govern migration and hibernation in animals, may also be a factor in diseases like polio, although more research is needed.

"Seasonality is a powerful and universal feature of infectious diseases, although the scientific community has largely ignored it for the majority of infections," said Martinez.

"Much work is needed to understand the forces driving seasonality and understand how we can leverage seasonality to design interventions to prevent outbreaks and treat chronic infections," she said.

Identifying the drivers of seasonal outbreaks is not always straightforward, but can pay dividends. For instance, the bacteria that cause cholera, which spread to humans by faecal-oral transmission, can be maintained in water supported by algae.

Public officials might undertake an intervention to prevent the transmission of from infected individuals and/or target the bacteria surviving in algal-filled waterbodies; importantly, the key season to undertake each of these interventions would likely differ.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, November 09 2018. 13:50 IST