Education and Prevention
Education is one of the key ways to help prevent global health crises that, regardless of how near or far away they are, will ultimately affect people in the United States. Many different government and non-government organizations in the United States focus on education, promoting global health and preventing outbreaks of infectious viruses and diseases.
Educate to Protect Yourself
It does not matter whether you are an international global jet-setter or someone who rarely leaves the small town you were born in, it is important to understand some of the basics for global health threats that can affect the health of people in the United States. The U.S. may not have as many of the serious health problems that less developed countries have but even in the U.S. where the FDA highly regulates our foods and drugs compared to regulations in other countries, throughout 2018 there were reports of food related Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli, Psittacosis infection outbreaks that caused serious health problems for U.S. citizens.
It is important to know about different diseases and illnesses that have the potential to affect large populations and what can be done to prevent them.
Zika Virus is spread mostly by the bite of an infected mosquito (species Aedes) can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus and can cause severe birth defects for the unborn child. It can also be sexually transmitted. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika. Many people with the virus will have mild or no symptoms at all. The most common symptoms include fever, rash, headache, joint pain, red eyes, and muscle pain, and can last from several days to a week. It is rare for people to need to go the hospital and even rarer for Zika to cause death.
Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is understood for humans to be initially infected through contact with an animal such as a fruit bat or nonhuman primate. The virus is spread through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth with blood or body fluids of someone who is sick or has died of EVD; objects that are contaminated with body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from it; infected animals; and semen from a man who has recovered from the disease. EVD is a rare but severe and often deadly disease. Symptoms of Ebola include symptoms that are a part of many common illnesses: fever, muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, severe headache, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and unexplained hemorrhaging
H1N1 Influenza is also known as Swine Flu. It is an infection caused by a virus that pigs can get. Humans do not typically get H1N1 but a strain of it infected many people throughout the world in 2009.
SARS stands for the highly contagious and potentially fatal, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. The SARS coronavirus causes SARS. A coronavirus is a common virus that usually causes symptoms of a common cold or other upper-respiratory tract illnesses. There are six different coronaviruses that affect people. SARS is one of two far less common but far more deadly forms of coronaviruses. SARS first appeared in China in 2002 and spread to over 24 countries before it was contained. No new cases have been reported since May 2004. Strong levels of global cooperation in effectively dealing with SARS can be a model on how to continue promoting and provide global health care.
MERS stands for the viral and often deadly respiratory illness, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, also known as camel flu. The first case on record was in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Most people who become infected with MERS-CoV develop severe acute respiratory illness, including mild to severe fever, cough, diarrhea and shortness of breath. MERS is one of two of the least common of six common coronaviruses, that is also deadly. The first known case of MERS occurred in Jordan in April, 2012. Thus far, all MERS cases have been linked to travel or residence in countries in and near the Arabian Peninsula.
Cholera pandemics have occurred seven times in the past 200 years and parts of the world continue to suffer from deadly outbreaks. In a 2016 report, the World Health Organization documented 132,121 cholera cases and 2420 deaths because of it. 54% of the cases were from Africa, 13% were from Asia and 32% were from Hispaniola. Cholera is a major global public health problem and it primarily affects people in developing countries without proper access to adequate drinking water and sanitation resources. Cholera is a bacterial disease that is typically spread through contaminated water. It causes severe diarrhea and dehydration. Even in previously healthy people, if left untreated, cholera can become fatal in hours
Tuberculosis (TB) is a potentially serious infectious disease that mainly affects the lungs. It is transmitted from one person to another through tiny droplets released into the air via coughs and sneezes. Symptoms of tuberculosis include cough, fever, night sweats and weight loss, and may be mild for many months. It was thought that tuberculosis had been eradicated in developed countries but because of the emergence of HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis infections began increasing in 1985. The United States introduced stronger control programs and it began to decrease again in 1993. Even though the U.S. is doing fairly well by not having many incidences of tuberculosis, according to the World Health Organization, it is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide.
It does not matter whether or not a disease has the potential to become a problem on U.S. soil for it to be a U.S. concern. There are many more diseases out there that may cause global health problems and many more new diseases that have the potential to become outbreaks and epidemics, keep cropping up. It is important to be educated on public health threats that may affect you and your family directly but it is also imported to be educated on how to promote global health that will also protect U.S. security and health.