New strains of diseases and infections once thought to be eradicated have reemerged and spread in many areas of the world. This is due to a combination of immunizations and vaccines having been weakened by new and resistant strains as well as improper preventive measures taken by those infected. Here are a few of those ailments that have recently propagated, areas in which each is most prevalent, if vaccinations/immunizations exist for that ailment, and how you may know if you have contracted the it based on symptom diagnosis.
Pertussis (whooping cough) is a highly contagious bacterial infection. Pertussis cases have increased mightily in the United States, most often in states such as California, Illinois, Texas, Michigan, and New York, each reporting over 600 cases of the disease in 2011. Not only is the infection prevalent in the U.S., but is equally as dangerous abroad, affecting about 50 million annually. The condition is easily spread through airborne interaction, such as coughing or sneezing. There is no lifetime vaccination for the infection, so those who plan to prevent against acquiring pertussis should receive vaccinations regularly, which varies based on age. The “whooping” associated with the term characterizes the severe coughing fits caused by the infection, which last up to six weeks before receding. There are available medical treatments for pertussis, including vaccine and immunization options.
Polio (poliomyelitis) is a highly contagious viral infection. The virus spreads quickly through contaminated water sources and food, generally being passed through fecal matter of an infected person. Those who have contracted the virus include 32nd President of the United States Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the greatest golfer of all time Jack Nicklaus, and decorated Canadian actor Donald Sutherland. Polio is still “endemic” in three countries: Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. India was recently taken off the World Health Organization’s list in January 2011. There is still no cure for the virus however there exist two vaccines to prevent the virus – inactivated poliovirus and the oral polio vaccine.
Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that can kill organ tissue and is passed through the bloodstream and lymph nodes. The infection is airborne, meaning it can be passed from person to person quite easily. However oftentimes the bacteria may preside in a dormant state within the body and develop no symptoms of the infection. If an individual’s immune system is weakened by, for example HIV, the tuberculosis bacteria may become active. Although TB was all but eradicated in the 1950s, recent outbreaks have occurred in India, Argentina, and the Ivory Coast. Symptoms of the medical condition include fever, chills, cough, Pneumonia, and enlarged lymph nodes. Vaccination of the infection includes administration of the bacillus Calmett-Guerin vaccine.
Dengue fever is a disease spread by mosquitos, and is most often present in tropical climates around the world such as in Southeast Asia, Australia, Africa, Mexico, and most recently in Latin America. The disease is characterized by fever, rash, and in extreme cases severe bleeding. There is currently no vaccine for the disease, but those seeking to avoid should limit exposure to mosquitos and mosquito-popular habitats. The disease may start as mild dengue, which is quite similar to a flu-like illness. This includes symptoms such as swollen glands, headache, muscle pain, and frequent vomiting. If left untreated the strain may develop into severe dengue, causing heavy bleeding, respiratory struggles, organ impairment, and other medical problems, including death in severe cases. Most recently cases of dengue have arisen around Europe in Portugal, Germany, France, and Scandinavia. There is currently no treatment for those acquirers of dengue and also no immunization for the disease.
Now that he’s retired from the field of medical research, Joe Baxter has picked up freelance writing. He particularly enjoys writing about medical journals. Apart from writing, he spends the rest of his free time traveling abroad and working in his wood shop.