From Orlando, Fla., at a meeting of the American Meteorological Society
An analysis of recent outbreaks of an often-fatal disease in Peru may strengthen a link between the malady and the warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean known as El Nio. If proven, the connection could help health workers stave off future epidemics.
The bacterial disease known as bartonellosis is transmitted to people by the bites of sand flies, similar to the way that malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes, says Jiayu Zhou, an earth scientist at the University of
Maryland in Baltimore County. In the chronic form of the disease, patients get long-lasting, blood-filled, wart-like lesions on or under the skin. In its acute form, bartonellosis causes severe anemia thats fatal in as many as 40 percent of untreated patients.