Emerging Infectious Diseases — Learning from the Past and Looking to the Future
Remarkable progress has been made in preventing deaths from infectious diseases. Now, attention could shift to focusing more resources on pandemic preparedness, including detecting and containing emerging zoonotic threats while they are localized and manageable.
Since the start of the 20th century, there have been substantial reductions in deaths from infectious diseases in high-income countries. In the United States, infectious disease mortality fell from about 800 per 100,00 people in 1900 (accounting for nearly 50% of all deaths) to 50 percent 100 people in 1950 (account- ing for about 6% of deaths).
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Source: NEJM Group
COVID-19, infection control, and cholera
While the focus of healthcare research and reporting has understandably been primarily on the COVID-19 pandemic in the last year, other diseases and conditions have presented a quietly growing threat; particularly in low-income and developing nations.
Dr Osama B Hassan, of the Division of Epidemiology and Public Health in the University of Nottingham’s School of Medicine, co-authored an article in The Lancet’s EClinical Medicine journal earlier this year titled ‘Cholera during COVID-19: the forgotten threat for forcibly displaced populations’; he tells HEQ about the impact of COVID-19 on efforts to combat ongoing threat of cholera.
Millions Spend Easter Weekend Under COVID-19 Lockdowns
India’s health ministry said Sunday that it recorded 93,249 new COVID cases in the previous 24-hour period, the highest daily tally this year in the South Asian nation.
Only two other nations have more coronavirus infections than India’s 12.4 million cases, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The U.S has 30.6 million cases, while Brazil has 12.9 million. Millions of people worldwide are under new lockdown restrictions this Easter weekend thanks to coronavirus infections that have surged despite the continued rollout of vaccination campaigns.
Global military spending continued to reach record levels in 2020, rising almost 4 percent in real terms to US$1.83 trillion, even despite the severe economic contractions caused by the pandemic. The United States spends two-fifths of the world’s total, more than the next ten countries combined, and still cannot afford to prevent 50 million of its own citizens suffering from food insecurity.
Most shamefully, the United Kingdom is massively boosting its arms budget – the largest rise in almost 70 years, including a vast increase to its nuclear weapons stockpile – while cutting aid to the world’s poorest by 30 percent.
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Toxic PAH air pollutants from fossil fuels ‘multiply’ in sunlight
When power stations burn coal, a class of compounds called Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, or PAHs, form part of the resulting air pollution. Researchers have found that PAHs toxins degrade in sunlight into ‘children’ compounds and by-products.
Some ‘children’ compounds can be more toxic than the ‘parent’ PAHs. Rivers and dams affected by PAHs are likely contaminated by a much larger number of toxins than are emitted by major polluters, researchers show in Chemosphere.