The world is a global village. Think of the lawyer Andrew Speaker in 2007 who lived in Atlanta, GA. He was diagnosed with multiple drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and despite doctors advising him not to travel, he traveled to Europe to get married , had a honeymoon, flew to Canada and then came back to the US. During this time he infected several airline passengers and was quarantined by the CDC when he got back home. Again, the world is a global village.
Top Deadly Diseases of the Developing World
Respiratory infections (pneumonia, influenza, etc) are most rampant because the respiratory tract is the single largest and most common portal of entry. Think about it: People talk, you sneeze, it’s very easy for any airborne particles to get in from the mouth. Here in California we have to worry about Valley Fever that comes from a fungus that is endemic to the San Joaquin Valley. Similarly, if you go jogging in Arizona in the middle of summer (not that anyone would do that) you will inhale a bunch of this coccidioidomycosis fungi, just like in the San Joaquin Valley.
Infectious diseases are the leading cause of death around the world. By the 1990’s we had assumed that microbial diseases were wiped out. We could look at MDR-TB (multiple drug resistant tuberculosis) which is a huge problem. One third of the worlds population has tuberculosis and it’s particularly prominent in children. One in 10 tuberculosis cases are resistant to antibiotics (MDR-TB). In some states (such as CT, NJ), they have to utilize DOT (directly observed therapy) and that’s because of poor patient compliance where a lot of individuals with tuberculosis will not take the antibiotics for the prescribed period of time.
We don’t see much malaria on this side of the world. Measles are fairly localized as well. Syphilis is spread by direct sexual contact. There’s also congenital syphilis (mother to child). Note that tetanus has an annual infection rate of about 500k and the mortality rate is about 214k. That’s a mortality rate of over 40%, very severe relative to the other diseases. The only thing that comes even close is tuberculosis with a 25% mortality rate.
By the way, the very high HIV infection rate in Africa (10-50% depending on the country) is the reason why Africans are locked in poverty. Also, frankly speaking, most of the world doesn’t give a damn about the so-called “dark continent.”
What are emerging infectious diseases?
Emerging infectious diseases are new pathogens that have appeared and quickly spread through populations or known pathogens that have become resurgent, once again threatening wider with greater incidence and geographic range.
Factors that contribute to emerging infectious diseases:
1. International travel trade and commerce (the world is a global village).
2. Mass migration, spread of the human population.
3. Adaptive and changes that target microorganisms.
4. Internet and offshore access to antibiotics.
5. Climate changes (Global warming, La Niña, El Niño create patterns of excessive rain and drought).
6. Medical “malpractice” (the questionable and rampant use of antibiotics).
7. Poverty and desperate and unequal distribution of wealth and resource.
8. Spread of the human population in the previously virginal (uninhabited) areas.
9. Animal husbandry (the use of antibiotics in cattle, poultry, etc).
10. Antibiotic residues in water, soil and food.
11. Rampant and aggressive advertising by Big Pharma (pharmaceutical lobbies) inducing increased demand for antibiotics.
12. Poor patient compliance.