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    Today’s Forecast: Cloudy With A Chance of Melioidosis



    Courtesy Story

    Defense Threat Reduction Agency's Chemical and Biological Technologies Department

    A rainy day can do much more than ruin your weekend plans, it can also spread disease through soil and water contamination. For warfighters, this could negatively impact mission readiness by disrupting troop disposition or health. Understanding how environmental and weather factors affect disease outbreaks is vital to safeguarding our service members. Therefore, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Chemical and Biological Technologies Department recently supported a UCLA research effort to examine how weather impacts the spread of disease.

    UCLA researchers worked with medical facilities in Laos and Cambodia, two countries where melioidosis, caused by burkholderia pseudomallei (Bp), is endemic, to correlate weather and transmission of the disease. Using regression analytical methods, researchers considered humidity, rainfall and wind speed in their analysis.

    The results suggest humidity, rain and wind speed facilitate the growth of Bp at the soil surface and promote the formation and spread of contaminated aerosols. This finding is consistent with previous research linking rainfall, and its effects on top soils from rising water tables, with Bp exposure.

    Other melioidosis-specific findings by UCLA include:

    • Higher wind speeds are correlated with and drive pulmonary and disseminated melioidosis infections.

    • Lung infections (vs. non-lung) are less common during months with high humidity.

    • High wind speed months trend toward increased risk for lung vs. non-lung infections, and much higher odds of developing disseminated infections relative to localized infections.

    • Humidity is correlated with and drives localized melioidosis infections.

    • Most melioidosis cases occur during rainy and humid months in endemic areas.

    • Regression models estimate the maximum incubation period for melioidosis is seven days.

    Understanding how environmental conditions influence the spread of melioidosis, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention category B bioterrorism agent, and other outbreaks may boost preventive measures before exposure. This knowledge will improve warfighter decision-making and enable mission completion.

    DTRA CB POC: Donald Cronce, Ph.D.; UCLA POC: Todd French, Ph.D.;



    Date Taken: 08.21.2018
    Date Posted: 08.21.2018 10:30
    Story ID: 289624
    Location: FORT BELVOIR, VA, US

    Web Views: 229
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