Sunday, May 11, 2014

Bad news on communicable diseases.

The current issue of The Economist has news on two communicable diseases this week.


Pakistan so far this year reported 59 cases of polio versus 6 in the same period last year. The government has made a major effort to immunize children in the district most at risk this year. Worldwide, WHO reported 74 cases so far this year, in eight countries.

Chikungunya fever

This disease, which is spread by Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes and is common in Africa and Asia, has now come to the Caribbean and the Texas-Mexico border. It is similar to dengue fever, which is also spread by the same mosquito -- perhaps even more painful and longer lasting, but less lethal.

There was once an Aedes Aegypti eradication program in the Americas, and the mosquito was eliminated from 18 countries but not from the United States and several other countries. The regional program was ended at the suggestion of David Sencer, the Director of the U.S. Center for Disease Control. The mosquito then spread back through the Americans re-populating most of the countries from which it had been eradicated.

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