Journal article

Biological weed control to relieve millions from Ambrosia allergies in Europe

  • Schaffner, Urs CABI, 2800 Delémont, Switzerland -
  • Steinbach, Sandro Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA - Department of Management, Technology and Economics, ETH Zurich, 8006 Zurich, Switzerland -
  • Sun, Yan Department of Biology, University of Fribourg, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Skjøth, Carsten A. School of Science and the Environment, University of Worcester, WorcesterWR2 6AJ, UK
  • Weger, Letty A. de Department of Pulmonology, Leiden University Medical Center, 2300RC Leiden, The Netherlands
  • Lommen, Suzanne T. E. Department of Biology, University of Fribourg, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland - Institute of Biology, Leiden University, 2333BE Leiden, The Netherlands
  • Augustinus, Benno Andreas CABI, 2800 Delémont, Switzerland - Department of Biology, University of Fribourg, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Bonini, Maira Agency for Health Protection of Metropolitan Area of Milan (ATS), 20122 Milano, Italy
  • Karrer, Gerhard Institute of Botany, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, 1180Vie nna, Austria
  • Šikoparija, Branko BioSense Institute - Research Institute for Information Technologies in Biosystems, University of Novi Sad, 21101 Novi Sad, Serbia
  • Thibaudon, Michel French Network of Aerobiological Monitoring RNSA, 69690 Brussieu, France
  • Müller-Schärer, Heinz Department of Biology, University of Fribourg, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland
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Published in:
  • Nature Communications. - 2020, vol. 11, no. 1, p. 1745
English Invasive alien species (IAS) can substantially affect ecosystem services and human well-being. However, quantitative assessments of their impact on human health are rare and the benefits of implementing IAS management likely to be underestimated. Here we report the effects of the allergenic plant Ambrosia artemisiifolia on public health in Europe and the potential impact of the accidentally introduced leaf beetle Ophraella communa on the number of patients and healthcare costs. We find that, prior to the establishment of O. communa, some 13.5 million persons suffered from Ambrosia-induced allergies in Europe, causing costs of Euro 7.4 billion annually. Our projections reveal that biological control of A. artemisiifolia will reduce the number of patients by approximately 2.3 million and the health costs by Euro 1.1 billion per year. Our conservative calculations indicate that the currently discussed economic costs of IAS underestimate the real costs and thus also the benefits from biological control.
Faculté des sciences et de médecine
Département de Biologie
  • English
Biological sciences
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