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  • Open access
  • 30 Reads
Potential hazard to human and animal health from bacterial and fungal contaminants in small freshwater reservoirs

In general, the assessment of microbiological quality in aquatic systems focuses on the presence of some bacterial groups or species. Although Fungi is not a mandatory microbiological parameter, recently the WHO advises its detection/quantification. Its concentration and diversity varies greatly among the various types of aquatic systems. Fungi are mesophilic, dependent on organic matter to growth, and their presence can be associated with pollution. Depending on their concentration and diversity, fungi may pose a risk to human and animal health. The objective of the present work was to evaluate the presence of some bacterial indicators (Escherichia coli, faecal enterococci, among others) and fungi (total, yeasts and moulds) in freshwater reservoirs (water tanks) with different sources, sun exposures, anthropogenic and animal influences. Additionally, it was intended to assess the diversity of moulds. For this, filamentous colonies were isolated, purified and morphologically identified (whenever possible to the genus).

The three tanks differed in bacterial (presence of E. coli, faecal Enterococci, Staphylococcus aureus and Proteus vulgaris) and fungal (total and mould) contamination. Regarding moulds, 16 different taxa were identified and, depending on the water tank, Penicillium, Aspergillus and Fusarium genera and the Chytridiomycota phylum were the most representative. Some of the taxa isolated may pose a risk to human and animal health (dermatophytes such as Trichophyton, Aspergillus fumigatus, and some dematiaceous). The water reservoirs presented different fungal communities.

Although preliminary, the results show that freshwater tanks can be a source of potentially pathogenic bacteria and fungi, to humans and animals that use them.

  • Open access
  • 27 Reads
Fibropapillomatosis on sea turtles, a sentinel of ecosystem health?

Cutaneous fibropapillomatosis, first reported in green turtles (Chelona mydas) in 1930, is considered a global epizootic that affects up to 97% of sea turtles, with major consequences for threatened populations. Although this is a benign tumor that arises on the skin or internal organs, it can have serious and potentially fatal consequences when it compromises critical functions such as swimming, feeding, or breathing. The etiology of this tumor is not yet well defined, but it has been primarily associated with Chelonide herpesvirus 5. Some studies also exogenous environmental factors such as water temperature and pollutants, may have caused a virus-host imbalance and the onset of the disease. Climate change seems to have a role in the dissemination of this pathology among sea turtle populations. Although not fully understood, the relationship between fibropapilomatosis and the state of environmental health is well recognized. Further research is needed to better understand this disease, which silently devastates entire populations of marine turtles. Daily human activities may have a greater impact on wildlife populations than can be expected. There is an urgent need to reverse human threats to wildlife.

  • Open access
  • 84 Reads
Pregnant women’s susceptibility to future generations’ health and willingness to share fake news about climate change: A moderated mediation model

The wide spread of fake news about climate change has serious ramifications for the health of our future generations. Moreover, the pregnant women’s susceptibility to future generations’ health may further worsen the problem by sharing fake news about climate change. However, the antecedents and mechanism of pregnant women’s willingness to share fake news about climate change are unknown. To fill this gap, we employ a national cross-sectional survey to investigate the dark side of pregnant women’s susceptibility to future generations’ health. We expect that the association between pregnancy and willingness to share fake news about climate change is mediated through susceptibility to future generations’ health. Additionally, among those with higher levels of pseudo-profound bullshit receptivity, the positive indirect effect of pregnancy on susceptibility to future generations’ health is stronger. Furthermore, among those with lower levels of media truth discernment, the positive indirect effect of pregnancy on the willingness to share fake news on climate change is stronger. Our research is of great significance to understand the dark side of excessive concern about the health of future generations and sheds light on how to govern the spread of fake news about climate change.

  • Open access
  • 42 Reads
Socio-environmental risk management of the COVID-19 pandemic in Central America: unity became strength even in times of uncertainty

This brief note discusses the articulation of Central American countries in the fight against the pandemic from a socio-environmental perspective. Central America is one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world; hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts, floods, and volcanic eruptions are the main threats to the nations. The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 exacerbated the socio-environmental risks, demanding the emergency action of joint management within the framework of the Central American Integration Scheme (CAIS). Thus, technical meetings of the Coordination Center for Disaster Prevention in Central America sought to maintain a synergy to reduce social vulnerability and the environmental impacts of the pandemic. The region adopted intersectorality as a mechanism of articulation among all CAIS-derived bodies, allowing for more comprehensive humanitarian assistance to groups at higher risk (involving all human life cycles). The joint negotiation between the countries sought to provide technical support for estimates and projections for the calculation of needs, as well as to adjust health measures in each country according to the following scenarios recommended by WHO: i) no cases, ii) sporadic cases, iii) clusters of cases, and iv) sustained transmission. Therefore, the countries promoted the participation of the population in the prevention and mitigation phases, which helped to mitigate the pent-up demand in the health sector and strengthened community-based interventions. Thus, the region managed to keep the case fatality rate below 5% and reinforce compliance with local sanitary measures in the first two pandemic years due to the multi-systemic approach to risk management. The protagonism of the community led to the development of social groups more aware of socio-environmental and public health responsibilities, besides the benefits of working as a collective.

  • Open access
  • 37 Reads
Ambient Temperature Effect on Pregnancy Outcomes:
Single Center Experience from Belgrade

Background: Climate change with global warming and frequent extreme summer heat could
negagatuively impact pregnancy outcome, but it is still not well understood.

Objective: To assess the association between ambient temperatures of the last 4 weeks of
pregnancy with higher risk for preterm stillbirth.

Material and Methods: Study included all pregnant women with preterm stillbirth (20 to 37
weeks of gestation) treated in the Clinic for Ob/Gyn University Clinical Center of Serbia
durig a ten-year period (2010 to 2019). We used meteorological data (minimal, mean and
maximal temperatures) per year and month for the city of Belgrade which are provided by
Republic Hydrometeorological Sociate yof Sebia and are freely available.
Results: During the study period 409 stillbirths occurred in our Clinic (1.02% of all
deliveries). Gestational week of stilbirth ranged from 18 to 33 (mean +/- SD = 23.8 +/- 2.9).
Mean temperatures ranged from -3.3C (January 2017) to 27 (July 2012). Rates of stillbirths
were simmilar in spring and summer compared to autumn and winter months (233 vs. 186;
p=0.317) as well as if temperatures were <15C and ≥15C (200 vs. 209, p=0.854). Moreover,
there was no trend in stilbirths rates in regards to ambient temepratures of the last 4 weeks of
pregnancy (p=0.435).

Conclusion: Risk for preterm stillbirth was not associated with ambient temperatures of the
last 4 weeks of pregnancy.

  • Open access
  • 28 Reads
Indoor Air Quality (PM2.5 and PM10) and Toxicity Potential at a Commercial Environment in Akure, Nigeria

According to studies, indoor air quality is a major concern because of the health risks it poses. In Nigeria, little is done to improve indoor air quality and the toxicity potentials (TP) of PM2.5 and PM10. We assessed the levels of PM2.5, PM10, the PM2.5/PM10 ratio, and the toxicity potential of a commercial area in Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria, in this study. For the three-month assessment of the study area (March to May 2022), a low-cost sensor (Caneree A1) was used. The results depict the following: 73.23±53.94 µg/m3 (PM2.5), 68.58±50.64 µg/m3 (PM10), 0.93±0.02 (PM2.5/PM10 ratio), and toxicity potentials (PM2.5 - 2.74±0.04 and PM10 - 1.47±0.02). Both PM values exceed the WHO standard limits. The PM values differ significantly. The average ratio value indicates that anthropogenic activities in the area contribute significantly to the high PM2.5 levels. It should be noted that TP greater than 1 indicates a potential health risk. The TP values obtained in this study are greater than one, indicating that the environment may be harmful to the vulnerable. Based on these findings, efforts should be directed toward continuous monitoring of this study area and Akure as a whole.

  • Open access
  • 11 Reads
Association between ambient air pollution and hospital admissions, length of hospital stay and hospital cost for patients with cardiovascular diseases and comorbid diabetes mellitus: base on 1,969,755 cases in Beijing, China, 2014-2019
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Background Evidence on the effects of the air pollutants on the hospital admissions, hospital cost and length of stay (LOS) among patients with comorbidities remains limited in China, particularly for patients with cardiovascular diseases and comorbid diabetes mellitus (CVD-DM).

Methods We collected daily data on CVD-DM patients from 242 hospitals in Beijing between 2014 and 2019. Generalized additive model was employed to quantify the associations between admissions, LOS, and hospital cost for CVD-DM patients and air pollutants. We further evaluated the attributable risk posed by air pollutants to CVD-DM patients, using both Chinese and WHO air quality guidelines as reference.

Results Per 10 ug/m3 increase of particles with an aerodynamic diameter < 2.5 μm (PM2.5), particles with an aerodynamic diameter < 10 μm (PM10), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbonic oxide (CO) and ozone (O3) corresponded to a 0.64% (95% CI: 0.57 to 0.71), 0.52% (95% CI: 0.46 to 0.57), 0.93% (95% CI: 0.67 to 1.20), 0.98% (95% CI: 0.81 to 1.16), 1.66% (95% CI: 1.18 to 2.14) and 0.53% (95% CI: 0.45 to 0.61) increment for CVD-DM patients’ admissions. Among the six pollutants, particulate pollutants (PM2.5 and PM10) in most lag days exhibited adverse effects on LOS and hospital cost. For every 10 ug/m3 increase in PM2.5 and PM10, the absolute increase with LOS will increase 62.08 days (95% CI: 28.93 to 95.23) and 51.77 days (95% CI:22.88 to 80.66), respectively. The absolute increase with hospital cost will increase 105.04 Chinese Yuan (CNY) (95% CI: 49.27 to 160.81) and 81.76 CNY (95% CI: 42.01 to 121.51) in PM2.5 and PM10, respectively. Given WHO 2021 air quality guideline as the reference, PM2.5 had the maximum attributable fraction of 3.34% (95% CI: 2.94% to 3.75%), corresponding to an avoidable of 65,845 (95% CI: 57,953 to 73,812) patients with CVD-DM.

Conclusion PM2.5 and PM10 are positively associated with hospital admissions, hospital cost and LOS for patients with CVD-DM. Policy changes to reduce air pollutants exposure may reduce CVD-DM admissions and substantial savings in health care spending and LOS.

  • Open access
  • 22 Reads
Occupational and environmental chemical risk assessment in a changing climate: A critical analysis of the current discourse and future perspectives

The increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs) is resulting in global warming and climate change that, according to various climate change models, could result in changes in region-specific rainfall patterns, floods, sea levels, as well as infectious and heat-­related disease patterns. However, the indirect effects of climate change on chemical risk assessment, which forms the basis for both occupational and environmental health, have not received commensurate attention. Therefore, this study presents a content analysis of the current discourse on implications of climate change on occupational and environmental chemical risk assessment. Since temperature and climatic zones affect the toxicity of substances, cclimate change has potential to affect toxicity of chemicals. Climate change can alter absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) of chemicals that can in turn influence the internal dose. These effects can be captured in Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOPs), which depict linkages between molecular initiating events and the subsequent cascade of responses in individuals or populations. Furthermore, climate change is expected to result in novel climate and ecological systems that may not have current analogies in terms of their temperature and precipitation regimes. A change in climate will also affect exposure to toxic substances mediated through effects on various transport, degradation, dissipation and fate processes. Ultimately, climate change will have implications on the validity of occupational and environmental chemical risk assessment through space and time. Consequently, occupational and environmental chemical risk assessment will need to consider multiple stressors at ecological level using conceptual cause–effect diagrams at spatial and temporal scales in order to account for both direct and indirect effects of climate change, whose magnitude will depend on the extent to which current conditions are altered

  • Open access
  • 15 Reads

Objectives: Climate change, including non-optimal temperature, is a large health issue that humanity faces. The purpose of this study was to assess the association between global ischemic heart disease (IHD) mortality and temperature changes.

Materials and methods: A descriptive epidemiological study design was used. Joinpoint regression analysis was applied to calculate the average annual percent change (AAPC) with 95% confidence interval (CI) to evaluate trends in 1990-2019.

Results: Trend for global IHD mortality attributed to high temperature significantly increased both in males (AAPC= +10.4%; 95%CI= 8.0 to 12.8) and females (AAPC= +9.3%; 95%CI= 7.1 to 11.5). A significantly decreased trend for global IHD mortality attributed to low temperature was observed in males (AAPC= -1.7%; 95%CI= -1.8 to -1.6) and females (AAPC= -2.1%; 95%CI= -2.1 to -2.0) in 1990-2019. In 2019, there were no significant differences by sexes in terms of the contribution of non-optimal temperature to global IHD mortality: for low temperature (5.99% in males and 6.19% in females, respectively) and high temperature (0.50% in males and 0.44% in females, respectively).

Conclusion: The effects of non-optimal temperature on the global IHD mortality need to be further elucidated in longitudinal research.

  • Open access
  • 18 Reads

Objectives: Stroke is the second most common cause of death worldwide. This study aimed to assess the link between stroke mortality and non-optimal temperature at the global level.

Materials and methods: An ecological trend study was conducted. Joinpoint regression analysis was applied to calculate the average annual percent change (AAPC) with 95% confidence interval (CI) to evaluate trends in 1990-2019.

Results: In both sexes together, the percentage of stroke deaths attributed to low temperature was 7.23% in 2019, accounting 474,002 stroke deaths. Globally, about 48,030 of stroke deaths were attributed to high temperature. Trend for global stroke mortality attributed to low temperature significantly decreased (AAPC= -2.5%; 95%CI= -2.6 to -2.3) in both sexes together in total, as well as for all stroke types. The significantly increased trend for total stroke mortality attributed to high temperature was observed in both sexes together in 1990-2019 (AAPC= +1.0%; 95%CI= 0.6 to 1.3); increased trend was observed for ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage, but not for subarachnoid hemorrhage, where a stable trend was observed.

Conclusion: The link between non-optimal temperature and stroke mortality, although not identical for different types of stroke, is useful for policy making for disease burden reduction.

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