Seasons bring diseases like Polio, AIDS etc - Seeker's Thoughts

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Sunday, 4 August 2019

Seasons bring diseases like Polio, AIDS etc


Many infectious diseases are seasonal not just flu, polio peaks in the summer, measles during the school year, and chickenpox in spring.

Scott Dwell, a researcher from the centres for Disease Control and Prevention, published a paper hypothesizing that humans susceptibility to the poliovirus could be related to seasonal physiological changes.

Why so?

According to the researcher seasonal variation in hormone secretion caused by changing sunlight patterns. In fact, it was claimed that maybe all acute infectious diseases are seasonal.

In an investigation, Micaela Matinez, an infectious disease ecologist from Columbia University in New York found that acute diseases those that come on rapidly and last a short amount of time, like the flu would be seasonal, and the chronic diseases – those lasting longer and usually requiring ongoing medical attention.

She found seasonality occurs not just in acute infectious diseases like flu but also chronic infectious diseases like Hepatitis B, which depending on geography, flares up with greater regulatory certain times of the years. 
Preliminary work has shown that even HIV-AIDS has a seasonal element, thought to be driven by seasonal changes in malnutrition in agriculture settings.

Let’s understand about infectious diseases and Flu

Infectious diseases are disorders caused by organisms- such as bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. Many organisms live in and on our bodies. They’re normally harmless or even helpful. But under certain conditions, some organisms may cause disease.

Some infectious diseases can be passed from person to person. Some are transmitted by insects or other animals. And you may get others by consuming contaminated food or water or being exposed to organisms in the environment.

Signs and symptoms vary depending on the organism causing the infection but often include fever and fatigue. Mild infection, but often include fever and fatigue. Mild infections may respond to rest and home remedies, while some life-threatening infections may need hospitalization.

Many infectious diseases, such as measles and chickenpox, can be prevented by vaccines. Frequent and thorough hand-washing also helps protect you from most infectious diseases.

Flu – Influenza, or flu, is a respiratory illness caused by the virus. Flu is highly contagious and is normally spread by the coughs and sneezes of an infected person.


A person can also catch flu by touching an infected person, for instance, by shaking hands.

Adults are contagious 1-2 days before getting symptoms and up to 7 days after becoming ill. This means that you can spread the influenza virus before you even know are infected.

-       Antibiotics cannot treat flu, but some antivirals can.

-       Experts agree that the best way to prevent flu is to get vaccinated each year.

-       The flu vaccine is not suitable for certain groups of people, such as those who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs.

So why seasons are responsible for occurring infectious diseases?

Seasonality is powerful and universal features of infectious diseases, although the scientific community has largely ignored it for the majority of infections

The research describes for main drivers of seasonality in infectious diseases. Environmental factors like temperature and humidity regulate seasonal flu; in vector-borne diseases 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 measles.

Ecological factors
Ecological factors such as algae play a role the outbreaks of cholera. Seasonal biological rhythms, similar to those that govern migration and hibernation in animals, may also be a factor in diseases like polio, although more researcher is needed.


How it can identified whether the infectious diseases are seasonal or not?

Identifying the drivers of seasonal outbreaks is not always straightforward but can pay dividends.

For example – the bacteria that cause cholera, which spread to humans by fecal-oral transmission, can be maintained in water supported by algae. Public health officials might undertake an intervention to prevent the transmission of cholera from infected individuals and/or target the bacteria surviving in algal-filled water bodies; importantly, the key season to undertaken each of these interventions would likely differ.

In case of polio, public health researchers once thought summer outbreaks were driven by seasonal mixing of children in swimming pools or theatres or by the climate, nut neither of these factors could explain the summertime outbreaks around the world.

Researchers- says much work is needed to understand the forces driving diseases seasonality and understand how they can treat chronic infections.

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