The Most Recent Epidemics Around The World – #10

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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 droplets. A total of 8098 people were infected and 774 people were killed by SARS during the 2003 outbreak. While the epidemic was prominent around the world, the spread of the virus was much more contained and limited in the United States. Even though the outbreak subsided in a relatively acute time period, it was more of a learning lesson for the world on how to better handle the spread of infectious diseases and what resources to employ in order to minimize loss of life.

The spread of SARS as of 03/28/2003.

 

A map of countries around the world influenced by SARS between 11/01/2002 to 08/07/2003. Black indicates countries with confirmed deaths, red indicates countries with confirmed infections, and grey indicates countries without confirmed cases.

 

Featured Image: Content Providers(s): CDC/ Ethleen Lloyd [Public domain]

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Yash Pandya

Yash Pandya is a science writer at The "Almost" Doctor's Channel. He is a rising third-year student at the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in Emergency Medicine with minors in Neuroscience and Chemistry. Yash plans on attending the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in Fall 2016 with guaranteed admission. In addition to the usual humdrum of academic involvement, Yash loves to play Ping Pong, catch up on the latest "Big Bang Theory," and travel. Having lived in India for half his lifetime, Yash aspires to expand his horizons into international healthcare by practicing medicine globally.