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      Dryland Salinity and Ecosystem Distress Syndrome: Human Health Implications

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      EcoHealth

      Springer Nature America, Inc

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          Most cited references 60

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          Impact of regional climate change on human health.

          The World Health Organisation estimates that the warming and precipitation trends due to anthropogenic climate change of the past 30 years already claim over 150,000 lives annually. Many prevalent human diseases are linked to climate fluctuations, from cardiovascular mortality and respiratory illnesses due to heatwaves, to altered transmission of infectious diseases and malnutrition from crop failures. Uncertainty remains in attributing the expansion or resurgence of diseases to climate change, owing to lack of long-term, high-quality data sets as well as the large influence of socio-economic factors and changes in immunity and drug resistance. Here we review the growing evidence that climate-health relationships pose increasing health risks under future projections of climate change and that the warming trend over recent decades has already contributed to increased morbidity and mortality in many regions of the world. Potentially vulnerable regions include the temperate latitudes, which are projected to warm disproportionately, the regions around the Pacific and Indian oceans that are currently subjected to large rainfall variability due to the El Niño/Southern Oscillation sub-Saharan Africa and sprawling cities where the urban heat island effect could intensify extreme climatic events.
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            The ecology of infectious disease: effects of host diversity and community composition on Lyme disease risk.

            The extent to which the biodiversity and community composition of ecosystems affect their functions is an issue that grows ever more compelling as human impacts on ecosystems increase. We present evidence that supports a novel function of vertebrate biodiversity, the buffering of human risk of exposure to Lyme-disease-bearing ticks. We tested the Dilution Effect model, which predicts that high species diversity in the community of tick hosts reduces vector infection prevalence by diluting the effects of the most competent disease reservoir, the ubiquitous white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus). As habitats are degraded by fragmentation or other anthropogenic forces, some members of the host community disappear. Thus, species-poor communities tend to have mice, but few other hosts, whereas species-rich communities have mice, plus many other potential hosts. We demonstrate that the most common nonmouse hosts are relatively poor reservoirs for the Lyme spirochete and should reduce the prevalence of the disease by feeding, but rarely infecting, ticks. By accounting for nearly every host species' contribution to the number of larval ticks fed and infected, we show that as new host species are added to a depauperate community, the nymphal infection prevalence, a key risk factor, declines. We identify important "dilution hosts" (e.g., squirrels), characterized by high tick burdens, low reservoir competence, and high population density, as well as "rescue hosts" (e.g., shrews), which are capable of maintaining high disease risk when mouse density is low. Our study suggests that the preservation of vertebrate biodiversity and community composition can reduce the incidence of Lyme disease.
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              Global Change and Human Vulnerability to Vector-Borne Diseases

              Global change includes climate change and climate variability, land use, water storage and irrigation, human population growth and urbanization, trade and travel, and chemical pollution. Impacts on vector-borne diseases, including malaria, dengue fever, infections by other arboviruses, schistosomiasis, trypanosomiasis, onchocerciasis, and leishmaniasis are reviewed. While climate change is global in nature and poses unknown future risks to humans and natural ecosystems, other local changes are occurring more rapidly on a global scale and are having significant effects on vector-borne diseases. History is invaluable as a pointer to future risks, but direct extrapolation is no longer possible because the climate is changing. Researchers are therefore embracing computer simulation models and global change scenarios to explore the risks. Credible ranking of the extent to which different vector-borne diseases will be affected awaits a rigorous analysis. Adaptation to the changes is threatened by the ongoing loss of drugs and pesticides due to the selection of resistant strains of pathogens and vectors. The vulnerability of communities to the changes in impacts depends on their adaptive capacity, which requires both appropriate technology and responsive public health systems. The availability of resources in turn depends on social stability, economic wealth, and priority allocation of resources to public health.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                EcoHealth
                EcoHealth
                Springer Nature America, Inc
                1612-9202
                1612-9210
                April 16 2007
                February 13 2007
                April 16 2007
                : 4
                : 1
                : 10-17
                Article
                10.1007/s10393-006-0078-9
                © 2007
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