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Diarrhea Incidence Higher In Dry Seasons, Study Shows

“Diarrhea, killer of 1.5 million children annually, is likely to become more prevalent in many developing countries as the climate changes, a report says,” the Daily Climate/Scientific American reports. However, unlike conventional beliefs that diarrhea incidence increases during rainy and wet seasons, the researchers, led by Kathleen Alexander, an associate professor of wildlife at Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment, “found an unexpected peak of diarrhea during the hottest and driest part of the year, when there were the most flies,” according to the news service.

The study, published this week in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “is based on three decades of historical data” from Botswana “and has implications for arid countries worldwide,” the news service notes. “Diarrheal case incidence peaks in both seasons in Botswana, with cases 20 percent more frequent on average in the dry than the wet season,” according to the study, the Daily Climate states. Alexander said, “Our findings suggest that climate change will increase the occurrence of diarrhea and the burden of disease among vulnerable populations in Botswana and similarly affected regions,” the news service adds (Kirby, 3/28).

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