Worldwide Map Documents Rotavirus Risk

JULY 02, 2015
Jacquelyn Gray
Michigan State University (MSU) researchers have created the first map to predict rotavirus (RV) prevalence on a global scale.
The study focused on RV, a pathogen native to fecal matter which is attributed to more than 450,000 annually. Spreading predominantly through water, children become disproportionately infected and die from RV.
According to a MSU press release, the team asserted that the map helped attain sanitation criteria included in Sustainability Development Goals (SDG), a list of public health benchmarks put forth by the United Nations (UN), which were not reached through the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).
The creation of the map, documented in Pathogens, used factors like incidence, excretion rate, and removal during wastewater treatment to gauge RV risk and gain a deeper understanding of best practices to control and combat the disease.
From this equation, the team determined that RV risk was heightened in urban areas and regions lacking adequate sanitation. For the latter, the authors believed the map served a way for these locations to predict, prepare for, and mitigate RV outbreaks
“Modeling exercises like the one presented in this paper provide unique opportunities to further study these emissions to surface water, their sources and scenarios for improved management,” the authors wrote.
The investigators also claimed the map would be especially beneficial for areas lacking data to create comprehensive predictive models.
“Many countries are at risk of serious public health hazards due to lack of basic sanitation,”Joan Rose, Homer Nowlin Chair in water research at MSU said in a statement. “With this map, however, we can assess where viruses are being discharged from untreated sewage and address how disease is being spread. With that, we can design a treatment and vaccination program that can help prevent sewage-associated diseases.”

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