Title: Soil Borne Human Diseases
Publisher: Publications Office of the European Union
Publication Year: 2011
JRC N°: JRC65787
ISBN: 978-92-79-20796-9 (print), 978-92-79-20797-6 (pdf)
ISSN: 1018-5593 (print), 1831-9424 (pdf)
Other Identifiers: EUR 24893 EN
OPOCE LB-NA-24893-EN-C (print), LB-NA-24893-EN-N (pdf)
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC65787
DOI: 10.2788/37199
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: Soils are home to a remarkable array of biodiversity with some estimates stating that 25% of the Earth’s species find their home in the soil. Of these organisms, the vast majority are not of any threat to human health, but rather function to provide numerous ecosystem services which emerge through the multitude of complex interactions between organisms within the soil and even with the soil itself. These ecosystem services range from those which are vital for maintaining life on Earth, such as the formation of soil, the cycling of nutrient with the result of maintaining soil fertility, and filtering of water (MEA 2005), as well as provision of useful compounds such as antibiotics, the majority of which have been isolated from soil organisms. However, soils also contain microorganisms which are capable of causing diseases in humans, either as opportunistic pathogens which take advantage of susceptible individuals such as those who are immuno-compromised, as well as obligate pathogens which require infecting humans in order to complete their life-cycles, but which are capable of surviving within the soil for extended periods of time before infecting humans who come into contact with contaminated soil. This report aims to give an overview of soil borne diseases of humans, including information from the WHO and ECDC on infection and mortality rates within the EU27, and providing a discussion of factors which may affect the incidence of such diseases such as land management practices and the use of antibiotics in livestock before moving on to highlight areas of future research which are needed to further investigate this important and yet understudied area.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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