05.01.2016

This virus could be as deadly as the one that once caused Spanish flu.

Irrigation and man-made tropical diseases

“Throughout the tropical world, in Africa, Asia and Latin America, the construction of water impoundments, for irrigation and other purposes, in areas of endemic water-related diseases, has inexorably intensified community levels of infection, and also created new areas of transmission”, – so commented JM Hunter, the distinguished American tropical medicine specialist, in a groundbreaking publication right back in 1982. He was referring here in particular to diseases transmissible through mosquitos, other insects or small creatures – known as vectors – in combination with water, such as malaria, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis and especially schistosomiasis (see article "Malaria, shistosomiasis & Co. – The scourge of the 'bottom billion'"). While malaria is often fatal, particularly in children, the other three conditions, which are now included in the neglected tropical diseases, lead if untreated to chronic illness and severe disability.