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The World's Fight Against Microbes. Speaks Of How The Misuse Of Medicines, And The Destruction Of The Environment Are Making Diseases Break Out, And Become More Resistant

2431 words - 10 pages

Many infectious diseases that were nearly eradicated from the industrialized world, and newly emerging diseases are now breaking out all over the world due to the misuse of medicines, such as antibiotics and antivirals, the destruction of our environment, and shortsighted political action and/or inaction.Viral hemorrhagic fevers are a group of diseases caused by viruses from four distinct families of viruses: filoviruses, arenaviruses, flaviviruses, and bunyaviruses. The usual hosts for most of these viruses are rodents or arthropods, and in some viruses, such as the Ebola virus, the natural host is not known. All forms of viral hemorrhagic fever begin with fever and muscle aches, and ...view middle of the document...

Out of all the different viral hemorrhagic fevers known to occur in humans , those caused by filoviruses have been associated with the highest case-fatality rates. These rates can be as high as 90 percent for epidemics of hemorrhagic fever caused by Ebola-Zaire virus. No vaccine exists to protect from filovirus infection, and no specific treatment is available (CDC II).The symptoms of Ebola hemorrhagic fever begin within 4 to 16 days after infection. The patient develops chills, fever, headaches, muscle aches, and a loss of appetite. As the disease progresses vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, sore throat, and chest pain can occur. The blood fails to clot and patients may bleed from injection sites as well as into the gastrointestinal tract, skin, and internal organs (CDC I).The Ebola virus is spread through close personal contact with a person who is very ill with the disease, such as hospital care workers and family members. Transmisson of the virus can also occur from the reuse of hypodermic needles in the treatment of patients. This practice is common in developing countries where the health care system is underfinanced (CDC I).Until recently, only three outbreaks of Ebola among people had been reported. The first two outbreaks occurred in 1976. One was in western Sudan, and the other in Zaire. These outbreaks were very large and resulted in more than 550 total cases and 340 deaths. The third outbreak occurred in Sudan in 1979. It was smaller with only 34 cases and 22 deaths. Three additional outbreaks were identified and reported between 1994 and 1996: a large outbreak in Kikwit, Zaire with 316 cases and 244 deaths; and two smaller outbreaks in the Ivory Coast and Gabon. Each one of these outbreaks occurred under the challenging conditions of the developing world. These conditions including a lack of adequate medical supplies and the frequent reuse of needles, played a major part in the spread of the disease. The outbreaks were controlled quickly when appropriate medical supplies were made available and quarantine procedures were used (CDC I).Ebola-Reston, the fourth subtype, was discovered in 1989. The virus was found in monkeys imported from the Philippines to a quarantine facility in Reston, Virginia which is only about ten miles west of Washington, D.C. (Preston 109). The virus was also later detected in monkeys imported from the Philippines into the United States in 1990 and 1996, and in Italy in 1992. Infection caused by this subtype can be fatal in monkeys; however, the only four Ebola-Reston virus infections confirmed in humans did not result in the disease. These four documented human infections resulted in no clinical illness. Therefore, the Ebola-Reston subtype appears less capable of causing disease in humans than the other three subtypes. Due to a lack of research of the Ebola-Reston subtype there can be no definitive conclusions about its pathogenicity (CDC II).Staphylococcus is a genus of nonmotile, spherical bacteria. Some...

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