Pesticides speed the spread of deadly waterborne pathogens

According to the research led by the researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, found that the widespread use of pesticides and other agrochemicals acn speed the transmission of the debilitating disease schistosomiasis, while also upsetting the ecological balance in aquatic environment that prevent infections.

Schistosomiasis, is also known as snail fever, is caused by parasitic worms that develop and multiply inside freshwater snails and transmitted through contact with contaminated water. This infection triggers kidney and liver damage lifelong.

The study found that the agrochemicals can increase the transmission of the schistosome worm in many ways; by directly affecting the survival of waterborne parasites, by decimating aquatic predators that feed on the snail that carry the parasite and by altering composition of algae in water, which provides a major food source for snails.

The researchers also found that even low concentrations of common pesticides including atrazine, glyphosate and chloropyrifos can increase the rates of transmission and interfere with the efforts to control the disease.

The use of agrochemicals should be limited ultimately to take a control over this transmission.

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