Crappy climate news: More heat means more diarrhea | Source: The Daily Climate, Mar 2, 2016 |
A look at recent trends suggests developing countries will be burdened with millions more cases of diarrhea as the planet heats up
New climate research just plain stinks. As temperatures rise so, too, do cases of diarrhea in many countries.
The findings are serious, potty humor aside: The types of bacteria scientists expect to incite this surge already cause half a million deaths a year, mostly in developing countries that lack access to clean water.
Globally there are about 1.7 billion cases of diarrhea disease every year, according to the World Health Organization. These diseases, caused by bacteria like E. coli and Shigella, cause extreme dehydration, starving the body of necessary water and salts. With all causes taken into account—viral infections, bacteria, parasites, food allergies—around 760,000 children aged 5-years-old or younger die from diarrhea each year.
The study, published this week by Emory University scientists in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, highlights the interconnected nature of climate change, infectious disease and children’s health. Efforts to treat current diarrhea diseases risk being overwhelmed as temperatures rise and spur more illness.
800,000 more cases of diarrhea by 2035
In Bangladesh alone the Emory University researchers estimate an additional 800,000 cases of E. coli-driven diarrhea by 2035. Temperatures are projected to increase .8 degrees Celsius by then. By the end of the century, when temperatures are expected to be 2.1ºC higher than today, the researchers estimated an additional 2.2 million cases.
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