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The global health connection

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  • sharon sanders
    Re: The global health connection

    Thank you Dr. Kent.

    Every person needs to realize that disease outbreaks in remote places are, in reality, as close as our neighbor.

    It is gratifying to see that two of the world's wealthest people, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, are contributing large sums of money to the world public health effort.

    Leave a comment:

  • kent nickell
    started a topic The global health connection

    The global health connection

    I liked this editorial by DA Henderson. I think he emphasizes some key points.

    D.A. Henderson, M.D., is a professor of medicine and public health at the University of Pittsburgh. He is resident scholar at the Center for Biosecurity, an adviser to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on public health emergency preparedness, and formerly chief medical officer for smallpox eradication of the World Health Organization (WHO).

    A few excerpts:

    The influenza threat aptly illustrates the need for greater international cooperation to discover and counter disease threats, wherever they may occur. Such cooperation is needed more urgently today than at any time in history.

    Today, cases and outbreaks of disease, whatever their cause and wherever they may occur, pose a threat to the health of people throughout the world. No major city in the world is more than 36 hours distant from any other. In 2003, some 642 million international air travelers disembarked at 750 different airports in 135 countries. Once-common border controls and inspections have proved to be of no value in the prevention of disease, as was clearly shown during the 2003 SARS epidemic. More than 35 million passengers were screened with the intent of quarantining those with fever. No cases were found. If travelers had been infected, they were most likely in the silent, incubation phase of illness and could not have been identified, whatever screening measures had been employed. We are now experiencing population movement of a magnitude and speed such as has never before been witnessed.

    A seldom considered but major factor facilitating the spread of disease is the extensive proliferation of hospitals, especially in countries and areas where economic resources are taxed and professionally trained personnel are sparse. Many such hospitals have no provision for the isolation of contagious patients Recent experience has shown that hospitals have been the primary site for epidemic transmission of measles and hemorrhagic diseases such as those caused by the Lassa, Ebola, and Marburg viruses.

    In this global age, the health of every human being on the planet has become relevant to the health of every other. We have yet to fully grasp the implications of this fact, although both AIDS and avian influenza are proving to be important in communicating this message.