Category Archives: Infectious Disease

These graphics are taken from The Washington Post’s article, The invisible threat: Rising temperatures mean insects can carry viruses such as West Nile to wider areas, that ran on November 28, 2015 (story by Joby Warrick; photos by Jeremy Lock). One Health is not just a slogan but it is a movement that sees the interconnection between animal health, human health and the environment.


 

As the world warms, the zones of cool temperatures keeping certain mosquitoes in check will move north. Rising temperatures will usher in tropical diseases, such as dengue fever, or “break-bone disease,” which is transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes infected with the virus. Sources: Nature, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization

As the world warms, the zones of cool temperatures keeping certain mosquitoes in check will move north. Rising temperatures will usher in tropical diseases, such as dengue fever, or “break-bone disease,” which is transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes infected with the virus.
Sources: Nature, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization

tick-spread-600

The black-legged tick, or deer tick, transmits Lyme disease, babesiosis, Powassan virus, and Borrelia anaplasmosis.
Sources: EcoHealth, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

DENGUE

 

When you’re getting ready for a quick summer break to Florida the glaring headline that there are 81 known cases of chikungunya* (chik-en-gun-ye) being reported in Florida does bring you up short….especially when your day job includes prevention communication on neglected tropical diseases.

Though the cases are reportedly from people who recently visited the Caribbean it still has not been a virus that is prevalent in this hemisphere….and not in the US.

I hope they all get well soon…and that the mosquitoes stayed there and not here.

In the meantime….just in case….

Prevention

And the prevention guidelines are:
• Clean up standing water around yards and homes so mosquitoes do not have a place to breed
• Put up screens on windows and doors
• Wear long sleeves and long pants when out at night – when mosquitoes are prone to bite
• And if you don’t wear long pants and sleeves….use an insect repellant

Be safe.

…As for  me, I’m rethinking my packing.

* Chikungunya is a virus transmitted to people by mosquitoes. The most common symptoms of chikungunya virus infection are fever and joint pain. There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat chikungunya virus infection. Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites. Centers for Disease Control website

Picture is from Naples Daily News 2014…I hope it is the right mosquito!

How nice to see the New York Times editorial supporting the Global Health Security Agenda and urging the United States Congress to authorize this bill.

A nasty, scary virus.

A nasty, scary virus.

It is important, yes.  There are reminders in the news and incident rates creeping up of neglected diseases as well as viruses most of us don’t know from our childhood, like measles and polio  — but that’s fodder for another blog.

Hugs and praise to the NYT for coming out in favor of investing in prevention of infectious diseases.  Yet I did read the editorial with a sinking feeling of frustration that it cast this Agenda with fear and catastrophe. In worst case scenarios harm from disease can grow to horrific proportions but the reality is slim. Not everyone is at risk and scaring people doesn’t work, or work to the degree that will make  us change our behaviors and practices to make a difference.

Show of hands: Who isn’t exercising enough or is still smoking ,though the public health experts have pounded us over the head with fear campaigns promising that we will die an ugly death if we don’t stop?  Yep, that’s what I thought. We persist, even though research shows that fear theory doesn’t work.

One of my good friends and respected colleagues said neglected tropical diseases lost the marketing battle with its name. It doesn’t instill confidence, does it?

Let’s change things starting with a positive preventative Agenda.  Let’s talk instead about the benefits and value of taking action before we need to go into response mode, rather than attempt to scare the masses. It isn’t correct or fair and, sadly, it misrepresents the benefits of an ounce of prevention.

Dee Bennett