19.4.16 | Every year up to four million people worldwide are infected with cholera. The statistics of the World Health Organisation (WHO) show how dangerous infectious diseases still are. The research alliance “Infections 21” of the Leibniz Association seeks to combat infectious diseases and is investigating their transmission pathways. The Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) is actively involved in the research alliance. In the lecture cycle “On Land, on Water and by Air”, researchers from the Infections 21 alliance regularly present topics of current importance to the public. Together with the ZMT, the group has organised a lecture series that will take place in the Bremen House of Science on 28 April. The topic: Wasser as Transmission Pathway for Infections.

Infectious diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhoea, AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria are among the most frequent causes of death worldwide and pose a major challenge for the health care system. They are caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites and can spread in various ways and be transmitted to humans.
Water is essential for all living beings on this planet. It contains a variety of microorganisms, including pathogenic bacteria and viruses. These germs can get into the water with sewage and rain, but also through animals and humans. People may become infected by drinking contaminated water, eating aquatic organisms, or via an open wound that comes into contact with the unclean water.

It is known that many germs can be transmitted by water, such as cholera pathogens or the typhoid bacteria. Whether and how other dangerous pathogens such as diarrhoea, pneumonia, or influenza pathogens are transmitted via water is one of the questions the Infections 21 alliance is investigating.

In the Bremen House of Science on 28 April, three lectures will shed light on the role of water in the dissemination of pathogens. Particularly in cities with a high population density, for example also in Bremen, the contamination of water bodies with germs can be extensive and pose a potential transmission pathway. The current problems of preventing legionella diseases clearly show that this topic is relevant even here in Germany.

An important source of germs in the tropics is the fish and prawn production in aquaculture farms. In many enclosures the concentration of bacteria and parasites is extremely high. Through the consumption of aquaculture products, the pathogens can enter the human body. Many industrial nations – including Germany – get their fish and seafood from tropical aquacultures.

Lecture series “A swallow with considerable consequences: Water as a source of infections”

Date: 28 April 2016
Time: 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Venue: House of Science (Olbers Hall), Sandstrasse 4/5, Bremen

- Professor Alex Greenwood, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin
- Professor Hans-Peter Grossart, Leibniz Institute for Water Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Berlin
- Dr. Astrid Gärdes, Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research, Bremen

Interested media representatives and the general public are welcome to the popular lectures. Admission is free.

Further information on "Infections 21"