Global warming increases the risk of schistosomiasis infection

Release date: 2007-05-23

Global warming increases the risk of schistosomiasis infection Scientists say that global warming may increase the risk of schistosomiasis infection in China, and schistosomiasis may migrate northward. A study published in the March issue of the Chinese journal Climate Change Research shows that warming trends may lead to an increase in the density of blood-sucking worms and their host snails. Scientists say that schistosomiasis used to be mainly distributed in the Yangtze River basin and its south, but if the average daily temperature in the northern region meets the threshold temperature of 15.2 degrees Celsius for the development of schistosomiasis in the snail, it may spread to the north. “Global warming is likely to be one of the reasons for the increase in schistosomiasis in recent years,” said Yu Shanxian, a researcher at the Zhejiang Institute of Meteorological Sciences and the lead author of the study. Researchers have found that the period suitable for the growth of snails and schistosomiasis has been extended to varying degrees over the past few decades. In most areas where schistosomiasis is endemic, the average daily temperature in the year is not less than 15.2 degrees Celsius and the period is extended by 0-15 days. The period of not less than the lower limit of the snail growth temperature of 5.9 degrees Celsius is extended by 15-30 days. They also found that the effective accumulation temperature of the snail and schistosomiasis spreads one to two latitudes northward. Climate warming has also shortened the cycle in which snails and schistosomiasis complete their conversion, resulting in an increase in their density. Yu Shanxian pointed out that although the increase in temperature makes it possible to increase the infection of schistosomiasis, it has not yet been found that there are examples of areas where there is no schistosomiasis and snails due to climate warming. However, previous studies have shown that they can survive in the northerly region when the local temperature meets the temperature conditions required for their survival. Yang Kun, a researcher at the Jiangsu Institute of Schistosomiasis Prevention and Treatment, believes that climate is only a single factor affecting the spread of schistosomiasis. “The other influencing factors are not very clear yet,” he said. Yu Shanxian and Yang Kun both believe that the current northward shift of schistosomiasis in the context of the South-North Water Transfer Project in China cannot be ignored. According to the World Health Organization, schistosomiasis is prevalent in 74 developing countries around the world. ——Shanghai Medical Device Industry Association

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