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Infectious Diseases

  1. Sep 4, 2007 #1


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    A question about purified water got me to thinking about water-borne diseases which lead me to -

    History of emerging infectious diseases

    Marshall, Barry, "The discovery that Helicobacter pylori, a spiral bacterium, caused peptic ulcer disease", in Helicobacter Pioneers, pp. 165-202.

    Monique had a thread on the 2005 Nobel prize in Physiology and Medicine.

    Really fascinating stuff, and also worrisome because of emerging diseases given the mobility of the global economy.

    The US has seen invasive species, plant and animal, from other parts of the planet. I suppose this applies to pathogens too. It seems we've seem an increased frequency of tropical diseases, e.g. W. Nile virus.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 5, 2007 #2
    If I could add a #6: Sensational media coverage
  4. Sep 5, 2007 #3
    Speaking of- an update on Colony Collapse Disorder is due on 9/6. The latest information hints at a virus. Thus far everyone seems to be keeping a lid on it but there was mention of ports of entry not long ago.

    I can't find the direct link but Popular Mechanics ran a blurb about the Army's involvement in pathogen detection.
  5. Sep 5, 2007 #4

    jim mcnamara

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    The etiology of new diseases is interesting. Hans Zinnser started the concept which was later followed up. 'Guns Germs and Steel' is one of the descendents of this work.

    New pathogens appear regularly. Look it at it from a sort of teliological point of view -- humans are a vast untapped source of food and shelter for parasites. If a pathogen can make the jump from some other animal species to us, remain infective, and thrive - well, then it's found a new home.

    A lot of our major pathogens have been derived from close contact with other domesticated species - smallpox, cholera, etc. New threats also arise from old sources moved to a new home - West Nile Virus in North America, for example.
  6. Sep 5, 2007 #5
    That's a good point.

    The notion that emerging disease is somehow limited to "over there" may not be the norm anymore. Physicians and vets are often the first to see the signs of illness yet many appear to take the high road when they encounter something out of the ordinary. Hence the reference to the role of the media.

    Sensational reports about bugs crawling out of lesions and unusual filaments in wounds comes to mind. Judging by what we know as far as the possibility of contaminants and
    unsafe manufacturing practices it doesn't seem unreasonable to suspect this type of complaint could have some merit. At least it doesn't now. Maybe not a year ago.

    Hindsight again, but I often wonder how the media shapes our perception of what is and isn't when it comes to health and emerging disease. It doesn't matter what my thoughts are. It matters what Dr. Smith down the road thinks when he encounters something unusual.
  7. Sep 5, 2007 #6
    Cutaneous anthrax in the US news:

    http://www.wfsb.com/news/14049418/detail.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  8. Sep 16, 2007 #7
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