What is it about?

Polycystic Echinococcosis (PE) is a deadly disease found in the Amazon rainforest. It is caused by a parasite called Echinococcus vogeli and it is transmitted from animals to humans. Many people die from it because it's often diagnosed too late. This disease can be acquired when hunting and handling infected animals and therefore, it serves a paradigmatic example of the different diseases spread through hunting practices in the region. This study found that temperature stability helps the disease spread among animals. It also shows that extreme weather events like El Niño (ENSO) are a prominent factor affecting both hunting habits and resource availability, thereby increasing the chances of the disease spreading to people. The study also identifies and models the areas with the highest risk of disease transmission.

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Why is it important?

The study suggests that as climate change and extreme weather events become more common, changes in hunting habits will make this disease more prevalent. This result applies to similar diseases transmitted through hunting.

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This page is a summary of: Climate determines transmission hotspots of Polycystic Echinococcosis, a life-threatening zoonotic disease, across Pan-Amazonia, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, August 2023, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2302661120.
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