Evolution of New and Old Communicable Diseases
According to Gordis (2004), epidemiology is defined as “the study of the distribution and determinants of health related states and event of diseases in specified populations and the application of this study to control of health problems”.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is contagious and potentially life threatening form of pneumonia which was first detected in February 2003 in Asia and it spread to various countries in Europe, North America and South America before it was declared as SARS 2003 global outbreak (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2004).
SARS is an acute respiratory tract illness caused by an infectious ...view middle of the document...
Touching one’s mouth, nose or eyes after touching an object or surface contaminated with the infectious droplets can also spread the virus (CDC, 2004). This makes SARS CoV highly transmissible in health care settings. The incubation period lasts for about 5 days and can vary from 2-10 days (WHO, 2007).
Persons infected with SARS-CoV displayed symptoms such as high temperature (380C or more), chills, fatigue, headaches and diarrhea. These systems persist for around 3-7 days, after which the respiratory system starts getting severely affected. These persons should be immediately admitted to the hospital and kept in isolation under close observation (National Health Service [NHS], n.d.).
There were no vaccines or antiviral drugs available for the absolute cure of this disease, but scientists and virologists are in the ongoing research in developing the new drug (NHS, n.d.).
At the time, supportive treatment was given to infected SARS patients such as breathing assistance with the help of ventilators to deliver oxygen, antibiotics to treat pneumonia caused by the bacteria, high dose of steroids to reduce the swelling in the lungs (NHS, n.d).
In the Guangdong Province of China the Chinese healthcare officials reported 319 new cases of SARS and 9 deaths during February 2003 and within the span of six months the World Health organization officially reported that infected people during the epidemic had drastically increased to 8,500 with death toll about 813 worldwide. It shows that the virus had killed 1 in 10 infected people (WHO, 2007). The fatality rate of diagnosed patients infected with SARS coronavirus was 9 to 12% and was higher than 50 % in cases of adults over the age of 65, while it was milder in younger patients (WHO, 2003).
Technology has quickened the pace of globalization. WHO refers to globalization as “a process of growing interdependence that represents a fundamental change from a world of individual and independent states to a world of state interdependence” (WHO, n.d.).
The initial transmission of the SARS-CoV infection by the traveler from Taiwan had considerably infected a large number of people and health care workers working in close contact with him, spurring the epidemic in that country. This infection of the SARS virus continued to spread rapidly in different areas and eventually to 30 different countries across the world (Chan, n.d).
According to the WHO, travelling on an international voyage had been one of the main risks concerned with the transmission of SARS to the passengers and the crew in the aircraft from an area of a local transmission. The main factor in reducing the risk for the crew and the passengers is them being well aware about the major signs of SARS such as high fever, breathlessness and cough (WHO, n.d.).
WHO officials recommended that public health authorities initiate exit screening steps in the regions where the local transmission of SARS has recently occurred. These methods include...