Infectious Diseases

Category archives for Infectious Diseases

As the Ebola epidemic in West Africa worsens, CDC sends staff to affected countries and issues a travel alert, but stresses that the disease “poses very little risk to the general US population.”

It looks like a simple piece of paper and it’s nearly as cheap, ideally costing just pennies. But despite its small size, it’s poised to make an enormous impact and potentially save thousands of lives.

One of our public health heroes, Ciro de Quadros, 74, a public health physician from Brazil died last week. We need his attitude, skills, and persistence more than ever today.

Despite our best preparedness efforts, a real-life flu pandemic would require some difficult and uncomfortable decisions. And perhaps the most uncomfortable will be deciding who among us gets priority access to our limited health care resources. How do we decide whose life is worth saving?

Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory illness characterized by fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and it has been fatal in 30% of the cases identified since the disease was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. On May 2, CDC announced the first US case of MERS, in a patient who traveled from Saudi Arabia to Indiana.

For the first time, the World Health Organization has examined antimicrobial resistance, and the grim findings won’t be surprising to anyone who’s been following this issue.

Unfortunately, it’s not too terribly surprising that diseases of the developing world don’t attract as much research attention as diseases common in wealthier countries. However, a new study not only underscores that trend, it actually found zero relationship between global disease burden and health research.

Cholera had spared Haiti for a century or more, so it was not unreasonable that people asked where did the pathogen come from in 2010. But public health people might have explained that the question was a distraction. Why so? Very simply, knowing how Vibrio cholerae arrived in Haiti would not help control its spread or prevent future outbreaks.

It’s not the first study to examine the enormous health and economic benefits of vaccines. But it’s certainly another impressive reminder about the power — and value — of prevention.

Most people infected with mosquito-borne West Nile virus don’t experience any symptoms at all. However, the tiny percentage of cases that do end up in the hospital total hundreds of millions of dollars in medical costs and lost productivity.