A person with tuberculosis, a person with rabies, another with influenza – what do they all have in common? With the help of modern technology and scientific advancements, new medical treatments have been invented. These medications, such as vaccines, have been stopping infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, rabies, and influenza from showing their full potential. Rewinding back just a couple hundreds of years ago, diseases were constantly feared for their devastating powers. They were known for wiping out big percentages of the human population. Currently, research on infectious diseases has been put aside as the spotlight shines on cancer cure and cardiovascular illnesses. As a result, bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi have been secretly getting stronger without notice. Thousands of lives are at risk each year, month, week, and day as infectious diseases continue to develop, quietly waiting for the right time to strike.
Influenza, more commonly known as the flu, is one of the many current diseases emerging with surprising speed, threatening to create a world pandemic. In the 2013 – 2014 season, two new types of the avian flu, H7N9 and H10N8, were found in China (Roberts 2014). Until recently, the bird flu was only known to go around animals. However, the viruses have developed. Over the past few years, there has been evidence of animal to human transmissions. Even though unproven, there may also be a possibility of human to human transmissions. “Although human-to-human transmission of the H7N9 virus has not been confirmed, there have been clusters of two or three cases within families” (McNeil 2014). If the human to human transmission becomes a reality, the new type of flus can create significant amount of damages to the human population. They could kill many people as past infectious diseases have done. The fact that the government predictions for the flu vaccines has been inaccurate for the past couple of years shows that infectious diseases are more powerful than they are given credit for. Every year, doctors are taken by surprised as they find out infectious diseases are a step ahead. More attention is needed as new diseases continue to develop. Not only are there newly emerging diseases, there are also some from the past that are threatening to endanger the population yet again.
From the moment a person is born up until he or she is sixteen years old, there is a long list of vaccinations to take in order to prevent common diseases. Currently, the effectiveness of these medications are being questioned as some infectious diseases are re-emerging. According to Sabrina Tavernise, writer of New York Times, some bacteria are getting stronger than antibiotics used to kill them. Take the CRE (Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae) and MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) bacteria for example. They are known for their permanent resistance to the specific antibiotic created for them. This indicates that there may be an increase in the number of deaths due to common diseases in the near future. There are also some bacteria that have gone under mutations, learning a way to completely avoid being hit by the drugs injected into the human body. “… persistent bacteria do not resist the drugs but simply lie formant or inactive while exposed to them. Then, when the treatment is over they ‘wake up’ and continue with their harmful activity” (Paddock 2014). Increase in this type of mutation will lead to the need of different approaches towards delivering medicine to the bacteria to effectively kill them. With newly evolved diseases in the lead, other infections are also to become threats to the human population.
The newly emerging and re-emerging diseases are putting human lives at risk. In some ways, it is possible to say that everyone in the world has been contributing to the development of these diseases. Advancements in technology have made transportation from one place to another easier. The increased amount of exchange in different countries can be positive, however infectious diseases are also being transferred through the trade. With new diseases from different countries spreading worldwide, the infections are evolving and growing stronger. Furthermore, as people create pollution on Earth causing global warming, new environments for diseases are being created. “As Earth’s climate warms and habitats are altered, diseases can spread into new geographic areas (“Emerging” 2013).” With diseases spreading, some people are not immune to the new infections, leading to the increase of human deaths. The infectious diseases have been using humans as a source of development. Even though no one thinks about it, everyone has been helping these diseases, creating bigger risks on the human race.
As life continues on, infectious diseases are rapidly evolving. In the near future, simple diseases may start to take away millions of lives as one medication after another become powerless against them. Taking a look at the present situation, there are already signs of newly transformed bacteria and viruses that are starting to rise. Even with warnings, many people do not realize the threats that are lurking towards them. Without more thought and consideration, the infectious diseases will attack without mercy. Not only hospitals, but citizens in the community need to help create a health promoting environment and take serious action. The time has come for each and every one of us to reconsider the hidden dangers, and think about what steps need to be taken next in order to fight against the revolution of infectious diseases.
“Emerging Infectious Diseases.” Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology. Baylor College of Medicine, 03 Jul. 2013. Web. 16 Mar. 2014.
McNeil, Donald G. “Cases of New Deadly Bird Flu Surge in China, Experts Say.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 04 Feb. 2014. Web. 16 Mar. 2014.
Paddock, Catharine. “Scientists Discover How Some Bacteria Avoid Antibiotics.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, 03 Jan. 2014. Web. 16 Mar. 2014.
Roberts, Michelle. “New Strain of ‘Deadly’ Bird Flu.” BBC News. BBC, 04 Feb. 2014. Web. 16 Mar. 2014.
Tavernise, Sabrina. “Antibiotic-Resistant Infections Lead to 23,000 Deaths a Year, C.D.C. Finds.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 16 Sep. 2013. Web. 14 Mar. 2014.