Out of Africa: How Localized Infections Might Become Global Epidemics By Chris Rota

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Transcript of Out of Africa: How Localized Infections Might Become Global Epidemics By Chris Rota

  • Slide 1
  • Out of Africa: How Localized Infections Might Become Global Epidemics By Chris Rota
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  • Introduction: Our Crossroads The 20 th Century was the golden age of medicine in several respects Introduction of antibiotics and vaccines worldwide Rise of an integrated global medical system Eradication of many deadly diseases from the developed world and gradual improvement in the quality of life for the average global citizen The 21 st Century has begun to show signs of reversing such progress for both the developed and developing world Emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and parasites Continued inability of the global medical system to provide proper care to the developing world Increasing occurrences of disease crossover from the developing to the developed world
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  • The African Dilemma Remains one of the worlds poorest regions Limits access to healthcare for the average citizen Limits ability to conduct medical research on local diseases Limits access to Western medical technology Limits education on proper medical techniques and drug usage Increasingly opening up to the developed world Valuable deposits of mineral resources are drawing in large corporations Population movement has increased with advent of fast and affordable air travel African farmers are exporting their produce to a worldwide market instead of a local one, linking the rural countryside closer and closer to the urban centers Bottom Line: Disease spread within Africa, and beyond its borders, is very likely to increase in the near future
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  • Topics of Discussion Antibiotics Climate Change Globalization
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  • Antibiotics: Solution or Problem? Antibiotics have been a crucial tool for modern medicine Attack bacterial function and often produce immediate improvement in patients Many of the simplest antibiotics, such as penicillin, can be mass-produced and made easily available even to the poorest segments of the global population Considered a cheap and effective means of disease suppression on large scales until recent years Abuse of antibiotic compounds over many years have caused resistant bacteria to become more abundant Continued use causes death of all bacteria individuals except those with a mutation conferring resistance, which then go on to proliferate and create a worse problem than the original one Usually occurs as a result of a poorly executed antibiotics regiment which fails to eradicate the population at first usage and then allows the remaining bacteria to recover due to disuse
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  • The Culture of Antibiotics Netherlands researchers found that,within certain African nations, antibiotic compounds [are] often being perceived ascapable of curing almost any diseaseeven reach[ing] magic proportions (Haak 2) Leads to pressure on medical professionals and venders to supply them Frequently used in situations where antibiotics have no effect (ex. headaches) Clinics often misdiagnose patients based on outdated or inaccurate examination techniques, leading to further excessive use Result is the emergence of bacteria resistant to many of the frontline medications available to the population
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  • When The Pills Dont Work Once the basic forms of antibiotics are exhausted, more powerful and expensive ones must be used in order to repress the bacterial infections in a patient Extensive laboratory resources and scientific knowledge needed to develop such compounds are unavailable to the majority of the African region New experimental compounds being produced in the developed world are expensive and difficult to acquire for the individuals who need them, often leading to patient fatality and further spread of the disease due to inaction
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  • Topics of Discussion Antibiotics Climate Change Globalization
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  • Direct Impacts of Climate Change Gradual warming of the Earths surface as a result of excessive global fossil fuel consumption will worsen existing disease conditions if allowed to run rampant Increased temperature will cause winters to become milder, allowing bacteria and parasite larvae to have a better chance of survival Also will increase the metabolic rate and transmission rate of disease- bearing microorganisms
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  • Indirect Impact of Climate Change Climate change will also affect the behavior of their host organisms, which would lead to an expansion in the areas inhabited by both them and their disease-bearing cohabitants and exposure to increased numbers of human hosts
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  • Topics of Discussion Antibiotics Climate Change Globalization
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  • Globalization: A Window to the World Transmission of diseases between the developed and developing world has become increasingly frequent SARS Avian Flu Swine Flu XDR Tuberculosis in South Africa Close interactions between rural Africans and disease-carrying organisms such as mosquitoes and wild dogs not only increases the likelihood of not only receiving common human diseases but also receiving a crossover disease, which can be far more deadly
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  • Legacy of Globalization in Africa Exploitative relationships between the developed world and African nations over the last several hundred years have resulted in a large outward flow of resources and comparatively little inflow of technology and other advances Medical infrastructure is chronically underfunded and working with outdated technology, and therefore unlikely to be able to cope with an increased future disease threat should one arise Increased presence of disease would decrease productivity, causing a proportional decrease in both economic stability and the capacity for economic development This series of events would result in a further underfunding of the medical infrastructure and weakening of support to some the globes most exposed citizens
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  • Putting the Us in Conclusion: How the New Era of Disease Will Affect Us All For Africa, and for the rest of the world, the threat of resurgent disease is one which could prove to be closer than previously imagined Resistant diseases have been proven a challenge for the medical systems of highly developed nations such as the U.S, and could prove even more so if such diseases run rampant in Africa and then spread abroad Global climate change could result in an intensification of current disease problems in the low latitude regions, and the arrival of new problems for neighboring regions with the polar movement of tropical species As the world grows more interconnected, the chances of a localized disease turning into a global pandemic will only get higher