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The Most Recent Epidemics Around The World – #6

Human beings are social creatures. Along with our tendency to form groups and communities comes the inherent risk of disease transmission. The closer we live and the more derelict we tend to be in our duties towards maintaining sanitary living conditions, the more openly we can invite some of the worst pathogens we never want to see.   Thus, let’s take a stroll down the past 15 years and recall some of the most crucial diseases that delivered a substantial blow to human society, reminding us of the cunningness of virology and taking us back to our humble beginnings.   Over the next several weeks, I will be dedicating one article each to the top 10 most recent disease outbreaks around the world, with our next one here at #6.   6. Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) HFMD is a viral infection caused by a group of enteroviruses. Primarily affecting children, the condition is characterized by fever, painful sores in the mouth, and a rash with blisters on the hands, feet, and buttocks. The modes of disease transmission include saliva, mucus, stool, and fluid from the blisters. While treatment for HFMD is limited, most patients recover with symptomatic management and rest, with a few coming down with more severe complications such as meningitis and encephalitis.   Vietnam sees cases of HFMD seasonally. However, in 2011, the country experienced...

The Most Recent Epidemics Around The World – #7

Human beings are social creatures. Along with our tendency to form groups and communities comes the inherent risk of disease transmission. The closer we live and the more derelict we tend to be in our duties towards maintaining sanitary living conditions, the more openly we can invite some of the worst pathogens we never want to see. Thus, let’s take a stroll down the past 15 years and recall some of the most crucial diseases that delivered a substantial blow to human society, reminding us of the cunningness of virology and taking us back to our humble beginnings. Over the next several weeks, I will be dedicating one article each to the top 10 most recent disease outbreaks around the world, with our next one here at #7.   7. Measles The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has seen one of the most devastating outbreaks of measles. Affecting the country since 2010, nearly 20,000 cases and 300 deaths have been documented in just 2015. Several efforts are in place by organizations around the world to abate the toll of complications and deaths while increasing the number of vaccinated kids for this harmful condition. Given the dynamics in DRC and gaps in healthcare access, the situation is further exacerbated despite of the efforts committed towards resolving the crisis. As a disease, measles primarily strikes the pediatric population, presenting with symptoms...

The Most Recent Epidemics Around The World – #8

  Human beings are social creatures. Along with our tendency to form groups and communities comes the inherent risk of disease transmission. The closer we live and the more derelict we tend to be in our duties towards maintaining sanitary living conditions, the more openly we can invite some of the worst pathogens we never want to see. Thus, let’s take a stroll down the past 15 years and recall some of the most crucial diseases that delivered a substantial blow to human society, reminding us of the cunningness of virology and taking us back to our humble beginnings. Over the next several weeks, I will be dedicating one article each to the top 10 most recent disease outbreaks around the world, with our next one here at #8.   8. Flu The 2009 Flu pandemic was one of the most highly broadcasted and recognized outbreaks in recent memory. According to the CDC, 60.8 million people were affected with 274,304 hospitalizations and 12,469 deaths in the duration of one year from April 2009 to April 2010 – and this is just in the United States! The H1N1 virus was identified as the culprit, discovered to likely be circulating in pigs. While the flu virus is seen in a different form every season given its ability to metamorphose and puzzle the scientific community, this particular form was especially challenging for...

The Most Recent Epidemics Around The World – #9

Human beings are social creatures. Along with our tendency to form groups and communities comes the inherent risk of disease transmission. The closer we live and the more derelict we tend to be in our duties towards maintaining sanitary living conditions, the more openly we can invite some of the worst pathogens we never want to see.   Thus, let’s take a stroll down the past 15 years and recall some of the most crucial diseases that delivered a substantial blow to human society, reminding us of the cunningness of virology and taking us back to our humble beginnings.   Over the next several weeks, I will be dedicating one article each to the top 10 most recent disease outbreaks around the world, with our next one at #9.   9. Cholera Cholera is a bacterial infection caused by the consumption of water infested with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The primary symptom of the condition is severe diarrhea, which can cause substantial dehydration and loss of crucial electrolytes from the body. As a result of this electrolyte imbalance, muscle cramps can also be perpetuated. The disease has a relatively quick onset upon exposure, showing symptoms between a few hours to 5 days. Without treatment, the hypovolemic shock can be lethal, leading to possible death.   Zimbabwe had one of the biggest cases of cholera in 2008-2009, where 98,592 cases...

The Most Recent Epidemics Around The World – #10

Human beings are social creatures. Along with our tendency to form groups and communities comes the inherent risk of disease transmission. The closer we live and the more derelict we tend to be in our duties towards maintaining sanitary living conditions, the more openly we can invite some of the worst pathogens we never want to see.   Thus, let’s take a stroll down the past 15 years and recall some of the most crucial diseases that delivered a substantial blow to human society, reminding us of the cunningness of virology and taking us back to our humble beginnings.   Over the next several weeks, I will be dedicating one article each to the top 10 most recent disease outbreaks around the world, starting with our first one at #10.   10. SARS SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) is caused by the transmission of coronavirus, which spreads through the respiratory secretions of infected persons. The condition is marked by classic symptoms of fever, headache, dry cough, myalgias (muscle pains), pneumonia, and even death in some cases. Sample X-ray of a patient with SARS, showing significant congestion in the lungs that could perpetuate difficulties in ventilation and oxygenation.   Active between 2002 to 2003, SARS was first encountered in China purportedly through the handling of cat-like mammals called civets that carried the infection and spread it to humans through air...

It’s About Time We, Students Who Care About Global Poverty, Really Understood It.

You went into medicine to help people, right? As tempting as it is to spend all of your time learning every detail in your textbook, maybe it’s time to really learn and understand global poverty.   Featured image is screenshot from video above  ...

7 Reasons Why Your Two Week Trip To Haiti Doesn’t Matter: Calling Bull on “Service Trips” and Voluntourism

    I’d like to add that this is not a new idea. The problems associated with voluntourism are well known among the professionals who work in international development. I have added many links at the end of this post to inspire further reading on the subject.   There have been many different articles written about the ineffectiveness of short-term voluntourism trips to developing nations, including here and here by our friends at in-Training. You know the kind of trips I’m talking about: a spring break spent painting an orphanage in Haiti as opposed to drinking all day in Panama City Beach; a 10-day excursion in exotic Peru, with the pics of Machu Picchu to prove it; or, for the overachieving do-gooders, a couple weeks spent parading around Nairobi, Kenya.    However, these types of trips often exploit the people and communities they pretend to help. Worse, these short-term service self-fulfillment trips can end up doing more harm than good.    I’m guilty of this myself. I spent a couple of weeks in a remote Ukrainian village in 2006, where I basically just hung out with a few orphans and occupied space. The following summer, immediately after graduating high school, I spent a few months in Uganda where I did slightly more work until I realized the true uselessness of my unskilled presence there. But the only people less helpful than me were...