The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Pathogens and High Humidity  (Read 7307 times)

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2331
  • KIS Keep It Simple
    • View Profile
Pathogens and High Humidity
« on: 28/01/2008 09:26:44 »
In view of the somewhat wetter winter we have experienced and the inevitable rise in humidity, damp air, particularly near inland water where flooding has presented more than it's usual problems in that it has been over a more prolonged period, it is possible that we shall see more pathogens like H5n1, foot & mouth disease, Nipha Disease, Blue Tongue, West Nile Virus, TB, emerging should the dryer weather not arrive sooner rather than later. In fact, these predictions have been made before by myself based upon historic weather events that preceded outbreaks of foot and mouth disease.

River valley areas that have frequent mists shrouding them for several hours more than surrounding areas are most at risk. Cot deaths, multiple sclerosis, and indeed the deaths of local bird populations that eerily resemble the canaries that were used to test for noxious gasses down the mineshafts have all been duly documented to reflect the dangers of living in high humidity.

If you live in one of these areas and do not own a dehumidifier and use it at night when the moisture content of the air is at itís highest, you will undoubtedly be already experiencing frequent bouts of lethargy, colds and influenza. In Buckfastleigh, Devon, the locals have even named the oppressive air as Buckfastitis. During these bouts of  humidity there is an exodus out of the valley to dryer air. In fact older farming practices involved moving livestock to higher ground when the soil was waterlogged and the air was loaded with moisture. Now due to land ownership and rules brought about by scientists who do not have the huge family background experience in farming contain the animals in the water logged fields and place even more stress on their already environmentally suppressed immune response to infection.

These same scientists during the 2001 outbreak took animals from the valleys into warm dry laboratory conditions and documented their spontaneous recovery, yet have learned absolutely nothing. 


 

another_someone

  • Guest
Pathogens and High Humidity
« Reply #1 on: 28/01/2008 15:08:11 »
I am not sure the matter is as simple as whether we have wetter winters as such.

Many regions have regular southerly winds that seem to be deleterious to health (in Israel they are known as khamsins).  The wet westerlies we used to have, although uncomfortable, are not as bad.

I do not see H5N1 being an issue, but blue tongue, because it is insect born, is likely to be effected both by the dampness of the air (that the insects like), and by the strong southerlies increasing the likelihood of insects being brought into the UK from Europe on the winds.  The same with West Nile virus, being again insect born, but I am not so sure about TB (excepting that it may reduce the amount of sunlight, and hence vitamin D production, which could have an impact on resistance to TB).
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2331
  • KIS Keep It Simple
    • View Profile
Pathogens and High Humidity
« Reply #2 on: 28/01/2008 18:09:21 »
My own humble interpretation of the humidity model is that the high humidity environment lowers resistance to pathogens by compromising circulation and lowering core temperatures in animals and humans. Impaired circulation certainly fits with the location of the lesions in foot and mouth disease and swine vesicular disease.

Respiratory problems are known to prevail in high humidity also.

I have worked in the oppressive air in Buckfastleigh, Devon and been reduced to feeling totally wasted and unable to work without resting every 10 minutes. On leaving the valley and continuing to do heavy lifting at another location felt totally refreshed and firing on all cylinders.

So lethargy leads to rest, rest leads to poor posture and poor postured compromises circulation further which lowers body temperature enabling infectious organisms to invade the body.

Leprosy is another good example of environmental humidity enabling bacterium to infect the feet and hands first. 
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2331
  • KIS Keep It Simple
    • View Profile
Pathogens and High Humidity
« Reply #3 on: 28/01/2008 18:14:05 »
Remember warm air holds more water than cold air. So winter is not required to initiate the onset of disease. H5n1 fits nicely with humidity in the recent outbreaks. In the 1918 pandemic, the weather was also favourable to pathogens.
I am not sure the matter is as simple as whether we have wetter winters as such.

Many regions have regular southerly winds that seem to be deleterious to health (in Israel they are known as khamsins).  The wet westerlies we used to have, although uncomfortable, are not as bad.

I do not see H5N1 being an issue, but blue tongue, because it is insect born, is likely to be effected both by the dampness of the air (that the insects like), and by the strong southerlies increasing the likelihood of insects being brought into the UK from Europe on the winds.  The same with West Nile virus, being again insect born, but I am not so sure about TB (excepting that it may reduce the amount of sunlight, and hence vitamin D production, which could have an impact on resistance to TB).
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2331
  • KIS Keep It Simple
    • View Profile
Pathogens and High Humidity
« Reply #4 on: 13/05/2008 10:16:58 »
16,000 Cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease in China, 28 Deaths
The Epoch Times May 12, 2008


A sick child is carried at a children's hospital in Beijing on May 9, 2008. Enterovirus, better known as Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) has become an epidemic in mainland China. (Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)

Enterovirus, better known as Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) has become an epidemic in mainland China. As of Wednesday, May 7, at least 16,000 children are known to have become infected with HFMD and at least 28 deaths have occurred as a result.

According to local provinces and cities, increasing numbers of HFMD cases are sprouting up.

As of May 6, the Guangdong Province's health department reported 3,100 cases of HFMD, 1,408 more cases than one day ago. No death has been reported.

As of midnight May 5, the numbers in Fuyang City, Anhui Province's health department showed 738 new cases of HFMD. A total of 5,667 cases of the disease were reported in with 22 deaths.

At the same time, scattered reports of cases from 17 cities in Anhui totaled 6,445. 3,166 of these cases had been treated and cured, 104 of which were severe.

1,988 cases of HFMD were reported to the Shanghai health department as of May 5. No severe cases or deaths were reported.

HFMD has continued to spread in Beijing which will be hosting the Olympics. According to health officials in Beijing, as of three days ago there were 1,482 cases of HFMD. However the department did not reveal any new cases since. Outbreak hotspots have been discovered in two children nursery schools in Beijing. The nurseries have been closed.

As of 1 p.m. on May 6, the health department in the Guangxi Autonomous Region in southern China reported 169 cases of the HFMD. One death was reported.

The Chinese health department and the World Health Organization held a press conference in Beijing on May 8. Both Chinese and foreign media paid close attention to the situation with many foreign media correspondents continuously asking questions.

However, health spokesman Qunan Mao didn't reveal any information regarding the HFMD epidemic that everyone was most concerned about. After the press conference as journalists continued to ask Mao questions, he would only say that new information would be forthcoming.

In the press conference, Mao said that there were no significant changes in the HFMD situation. He said that based on the nature of the disease, there will most likely be more cases in June and July. "Experts estimate that there may be more outbreaks in other areas as well."

Mao assured that China will further strengthen the monitoring and containment of the disease, and that the epidemic will not affect the Olympics Games in Beijing.
http://en.epochtimes.com/news/8-5-12/70561.html



In Yangjiang City, the typhoon's landing point, 274,000 people were affected and 7,000 hectares of farmland were inundated. Losses from suspension of industrial production and damage of embankments and telecommunications facilities were valued at 96 million yuan (14 million U.S. dollars).

    According to the provincial observatory, the center of the storm is moving eastward to Shanwei City on the eastern coast of Guangdong, which is receiving up to 112 millimeters of rain per hour.

    The headquarters said water levels in all major reservoirs in the province were under the danger mark as of Sunday. But the risks of mountain torrents and mud flows were still high, since rains brought by Neoguri were expected to continue.


GUANGZHOU, April 20 (Xinhua) -- Three people were confirmed dead in mud flows and strong winds caused by Typhoon Neoguri in south China's Guangdong Province, said the provincial flood-control headquarters on Sunday.

    The typhoon claimed two lives in Shenzhen City, when a mud flow inundated a section of road under construction. One person was hit and killed by an aluminum sheet blown off a stadium roof by strong gales in Zhuhai City, according a headquarters official.

    The headquarters did not identify the victims.

    Neoguri hit south China on Saturday with heavy rains and strong winds.

    The headquarters received reports of damage from the cities of Yangjiang, Jiangmen, Zhuhai and Shenzhen.
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-04/20/content_8016176.htm


S. and C. China urged to prepare for heavy rain
(Xinhua)
Updated: 2008-05-04 06:48

More rain to come:
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2008-05/04/content_6658466.htm
The State Administration of Work Safety urged local officials on Saturday to prepare for heavy rain,which has been forecast for Central and South China.

The administration ordered an immediate launch of contingency plans and other prevention work for possible mine flooding, landslides and mud-rock flows, according to an urgent circular.

Traffic officials were told to halt operations when necessary and power grid operators were asked to take emergency measures to prevent large-scale blackouts from damaged transmission lines.

Weather forecasters said that most of central and eastern China will receive strong precipitation in the next three days, with thunderstorms and hail in some areas.

Downpours or rainstorms will hit most of southern China east of the Yellow, Huaihe and Yangtze river valleys and the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, said the Central Meteorological Station on Saturday.

Premier Wen Jiabao and Vice Premier Hui Liangyu on Friday urged regions and departments to brace for possible heavy rain and thunderstorms, the China Meteorological Administration said on its website.

Thunderstorms and rain are normal for China as spring moves into summer and cold currents from the north strike warm air in the south, said the station's chief forecaster, Sun Jun.

Temperatures will drop 4 to 8 degrees centigrade in northern China, said the station.

« Last Edit: 13/05/2008 10:30:51 by Andrew K Fletcher »
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2331
  • KIS Keep It Simple
    • View Profile
Pathogens and High Humidity
« Reply #5 on: 13/05/2008 13:07:39 »
neilep Wrote:

MessageID: 16314
09/05/2005 17:33:42 Ľ   

The most humid place I've ever been to was Hong Kong !!..I think it was May, it completely ruined my camcorder and was unbearingly uncomfortable, within 5 minutes you were soaked !

Sorry, I know this has nothing to do with the science of humidity but the thread bought it all back.
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2331
  • KIS Keep It Simple
    • View Profile
Pathogens and High Humidity
« Reply #6 on: 10/06/2008 21:10:20 »
High Humidity Is A Risk Factor For Heart Attack Deaths Among The Elderly
ScienceDaily (Jul. 13, 2006) ó High humidity, even in a relatively mild climate, boosts the risk of a heart attack among the elderly, reveals research published ahead of print in Heart.
 
The researchers analysed all reported deaths in Athens for the whole of 2001 and looked at daily weather reports from the National Meteorological Society on temperature, pressure levels, and humidity for the same year.

The total number of heart attack deaths during the year numbered 3126, of which 1953 were in men.

There were sharp seasonal variations in the timing of the deaths, with the overall proportion of deaths a third higher in winter than in summer.

Deaths among those aged 70 and above accounted almost entirely for this variation.

In this age group deaths from heart attack were 3.5 times higher in June and seven times higher in December than rates in other age groups.

The lowest recorded temperature on three days in December reached 1 degree Celsius (34 degrees Fahrenheit), with an average of 6 degrees Celsius, and the highest, on two days in August reached 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit), with an average of 34 degrees Celsius.

The average daily temperature for the preceding week was the most significant factor influencing the daily death rate

But average monthly humidity was the single most important factor influencing average monthly death rates from heart attack in the over 70s. Maximum humidity level reached 91% and the minimum reached 26%.

The authors point out that even in a relatively mild Mediterranean climate, such as that enjoyed by Athens, changes in temperature and humidity have a significant impact on the chances of dying from a heart attack.

The December peak of deaths has often been attributed to the "Merry Christmas Coronary" phenomenon, otherwise known as a combination of overindulgence in food and alcohol and emotional stress, say the authors.

But in Greece, Easter is celebrated with even more gusto than Christmas, yet there is no equivalent peak in heart attack deaths.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Pathogens and High Humidity
« Reply #6 on: 10/06/2008 21:10:20 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums