Feeling under the weather It could be because of all the rain: Scientists link stomach bugs to wetter conditions and stormsTorrential rain leads to drains overflowing which spreads bacteriaThe bacteria, if ingested, makes us illViroclime project looks at climate change and waterborne viruses
16:30 GMT, 6 January 2013
07:47 GMT, 7 January 2013
Sick: The weather might make us miserable, but it could also be making us ill, according to scientists
It's not unusual for the inclement British weather to make us feel a little miserable, but it could also be making us ill, say scientists.
More rain and bigger storms could be the cause of more stomach bugs in certain corners of Europe, according to new research.
Torrential rain leads drains to overflow, releasing germ and virus riddled water into our waterways.
If this water is swallowed while engaging in watersports for example, it can make people sick.
According to research, it is more likely to be viruses that cause us to be ill rather than the germs.
The research was carried out as part of a project called Viroclime which aims to improve tools for tracking harmful viruses from human sewage in European waters.
It has looked at viruses from five European sites including Spain, Hungary, Sweden, and Greece and one site in Brazil.
There are two types of virus which could act as a signal to more serious water-based diseases – one belongs to the winter vomiting bug family, the other to noroviruses.
Scientific knowledge on waterborne diseases has been a little sparse until now.
Mark Sobsey, a virologist from the University of North Carolina, told Sciencedaily.com: 'If we had better data, which EU project Viroclime can gather, and we analyse the data using a health risk-based approach, we could get better estimated disease burdens from recreational water exposures.
Flooding: Heavy rains and storms causes drains and rivers to overflow, spreading virus and infection riddled water which can make us ill
Research: Viroclime, a project shared by a group of universities across Europe and Brazil is looking at the link between climate change and waterborne viruses
However, he added that testing water for viruses is still difficult and costly.
Scientists believe that being able to monitor viruses in water could help them predict the effects of climate change and to develop new health protection measures to suit such change.
It could also help predict a rise in the number of stomach illnesses by exploiting the link to rainfall.
Viroclime is a shared project between universities in the UK, Spain, Greece, Sweden, Brazil and Hungary.
A case study of the projects findings will be put together after 18 months research.