With drones, discovery in science and medicine makes the sky – and now the sea – the limit.
Unless they're eradicated smallpox-style, infectious diseases never disappear. Like an unlucky penny, they can show up at any time. Three stories from around the U.S. serve to underscore a crucial lesson.
The second edition of "The Next Plague and How Science Will Stop It" comes with a new preface for COVID-19. Download a free copy!
Just how easy is it to get sick on a plane? Researchers from Emory University decided to find out, and to identify the factors that determined whether passengers exited the plane with or without an infection. Their findings are surprising, with one big influencer being the seat you were assigned.
The ratio of tuberculosis cases comparing immigrants to native-born Americans is more than 2:1. Standardizing these numbers paints an even starker picture. The incidence of tuberculosis is almost 15 per 100,000 immigrants, while it is only 1 per 100,000 native-born Americans. The good news is that tuberculosis is curable, and the disease is in decline all over the world.
New research into the 1918 and 2009 influenza pandemics reveal a potential warning sign: Mild cases of influenza that occur in the spring or summer may be a harbinger of a devastating pandemic to come in the autumn.
Every year, 5.6 million children under the age of 5 die. That's roughly the same size as the entire Atlanta metropolitan area. Imagine a city that size filled only with children aged 4 and younger. Now, imagine that city being wiped off the map. Every year. That's the scope of the problem that global poverty presents.
We want American scientists to know as quickly as possible when an unusual case of the sniffles occurs in Africa or Asia. From there, we could be able to model the likelihood of the disease spreading beyond its origin. Such a strategy could help prevent Ebola from making a return visit to the United States.
C-diff is a bacterium that causes a life-threatening infection. Though the bacterium can infect healthy individuals, it is of particular concern to those who are hospitalized or are taking antibiotics.
Before media outlets start scaring you about another infectious disease, learn some important facts.
Most Americans are rightly squeamish about forcing anyone to do anything against their will. But allowing homeless people to do whatever they want is no longer a viable solution. When a community fails to practice proper hygiene and sanitation, it becomes a ticking time bomb for infectious disease.
When is it safe to stop vaccinating against measles? Or against other rare and infectious diseases? In short, vaccinating against them can cease once the threat of future transmission is deemed sufficiently low.