#Urbanization prolongs #hantavirus #epidemics in #cities (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, abstract)

[Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Urbanization prolongs hantavirus epidemics in cities

Huaiyu Tian, Shixiong Hu, Bernard Cazelles, Gerardo Chowell, Lidong Gao, Marko Laine, Yapin Li, Huisuo Yang, Yidan Li, Qiqi Yang, Xin Tong, Ru Huang, Ottar N. Bjornstad, Hong Xiaoand Nils Chr. Stenseth

PNAS April 17, 2018. 201712767; published ahead of print April 17, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1712767115

Edited by Alan Hastings, University of California, Davis, CA, and approved March 28, 2018 (received for review July 20, 2017)



Urbanization reduces exposure risk to many wildlife parasites and in general, improves overall health. However, our study importantly shows the complicated relationship between the diffusion of zoonotic pathogens and urbanization. Here, we reveal an unexpected relationship between hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome incidence caused by a severe rodent-borne zoonotic pathogen worldwide and the process of urbanization in developing China. Our findings show that the number of urban immigrants is highly correlated with human incidence over time and also explain how the endemic turning points are associated with economic growth during the urbanization process. Our study shows that urbanizing regions of the developing world should focus their attention on zoonotic diseases.



Urbanization and rural–urban migration are two factors driving global patterns of disease and mortality. There is significant concern about their potential impact on disease burden and the effectiveness of current control approaches. Few attempts have been made to increase our understanding of the relationship between urbanization and disease dynamics, although it is generally believed that urban living has contributed to reductions in communicable disease burden in industrialized countries. To investigate this relationship, we carried out spatiotemporal analyses using a 48-year-long dataset of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome incidence (HFRS; mainly caused by two serotypes of hantavirus in China: Hantaan virus and Seoul virus) and population movements in an important endemic area of south China during the period 1963–2010. Our findings indicate that epidemics coincide with urbanization, geographic expansion, and migrant movement over time. We found a biphasic inverted U-shaped relationship between HFRS incidence and urbanization, with various endemic turning points associated with economic growth rates in cities. Our results revealed the interrelatedness of urbanization, migration, and hantavirus epidemiology, potentially explaining why urbanizing cities with high economic growth exhibit extended epidemics. Our results also highlight contrasting effects of urbanization on zoonotic disease outbreaks during periods of economic development in China.

urbanization – immigration – hantavirus – endemic turning point – China

Keywords: China; Hantavirus; HFRS; Seoul Virus; Hantaan Virus.


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Giuseppe Michieli

I am an Italian blogger, active since 2005 with main focus on emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza, SARS, antibiotics resistance, and many other global Health issues. Other fields of interest are: climate change, global warming, geological and biological sciences. My activity consists mainly in collection and analysis of news, public services updates, confronting sources and making decision about what are the 'signals' of an impending crisis (an outbreak, for example). When a signal is detected, I follow traces during the entire course of an event. I started in 2005 my blog ''A TIME'S MEMORY'', now with more than 40,000 posts and 3 millions of web interactions. Subsequently I added an Italian Language blog, then discontinued because of very low traffic and interest. I contributed for seven years to a public forum (FluTrackers.com) in the midst of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, I left the site to continue alone my data tracking job.