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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Drexel: Heavy Spring Rainfall is Followed by Spikes in Gastrointestinal Illness in Philadelphia

Heavy spring rainfall in Philadelphia may lead to twice the rate of acute gastrointestinal illness (AGI), such as diarrhea or vomiting, throughout the city, reports a three-year study recently published in PLOS One from researchers at Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health.

According to the modeled study data from 2015-2017, the increased rate of illness started a week after a heavy rainfall event and persisted for 28 days. At its peak, the number of daily cases was more than double the average number seen during times of no precipitation.

The authors found this statistically significant association during the spring months. They speculate that the rise in AGI may be caused by higher-than-normal concentrations of bacteria and other pathogens in the water due to overflowing sewers or surface runoff into rivers.

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