The menace of waves of infectious diseases – Israel National News

MainOpEdsThe menace of waves of infectious diseasesThe menace of waves of infectious diseasesWaves of infectious diseases struck Israel and other countries in 2018, causing considerable concern. In theory, infectious diseases have the potential to regain much of their power as a factor limiting the size and expansion of human populations.Lt.Col. (res.) Dr. Dany Shoham , 05/02/19 07:23 | updated: 07:13Share[INN:DS]Lt.Col. (res.) Dr. Dany ShohamDr. Shoham is a microbiologist, recognized as a top expert on biological and chemical warfare in the MIddle East. He is a former senior intelligence analyst in the Israel Defense Forces and a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.More from the author ►Waves of infectious diseases struck Israel in 2018, as well as other countries around the globe. A host of causes contributed to those waves, which spanned a broad range of diseases without a common denominator.Infectious diseases are a major factor regulating the mortality rates of species. The vectors that affect the spread of such diseases include pharmacological, epidemiological, ecological, genetic, and demographic elements. Pharmacology is a man-made arena through which infectious diseases are tackled. It represents, in essence, a war between mankind and pathogens, whereby vaccines, anti-sera, antibiotics, and, to a limited extent, antiviral preparations are employed.That war is constantly being fought. Pathogens change genetically as they evolve and can develop tolerances towards pharmacological weapons used to attack them. Antibiotics do not work against viruses, and anti-viral preparations can be very difficult to develop. Vaccines remain the cardinal protective tool.Pathogens change genetically as they evolve and can develop tolerances towards pharmacological weapons used to attack them. Antibiotics do not work against viruses, and anti-viral preparations can be very difficult to develop. Vaccines remain the cardinal protective tool.Over the course of 2018, Israel experienced waves of infectious diseases, primarily including measles, leptospirosis, Jericho sore, West Nile fever, and rabies.MeaslesMeasles is caused by an extremely contagious virus that passes from human to human with no animal involvement. The disease has a relatively long period of incubation – 10-12 days – during which no signs of disease are observable in the infected. Because measles is transmitted easily, more than 95% of a community must be vaccinated to achieve effectual population immunity. Normally, individual immunity lasts all of one’s life.In 2018, about 3,150 people were diagnosed with measles in Israel, particularly among non-vaccinated populations. The initial cases were in all likelihood imported. Earlier measles epidemics of note took place in Vietnam in the spring of 2014, in Berlin in 2014-15, and in other parts of Europe. Israel is still experiencing the measles outbreak that began in 2018.LeptospirosisThe bacterium that causes leptospirosis survives best in fresh water, damp alkaline soil, vegetation, and mud, with temperatures higher than 22°C. For this reason, the number of cases of leptospirosis in Western countries tends to rise in late summer or early fall, and during rainy season in the tropics.The leptospirosis pathogen is transmitted via the urine of infected mammals, such as rodents, deer, rabbits, jackals, wild boar, cows, sheep, and dogs. Globally, it is estimated that 7-10 million people are infected with leptospirosis annually. Of those, about 1 million cases are severe, with 58,900 resulting in death per year.The number of new cases is difficult to estimate, however, as many diseased or suspected cases are untraceable. This is due to the difficulty in differentiating the disease – the symptoms of which vary greatly – from other similar clinical conditions.In Israel, leptospirosis is relatively uncommon, with only 5-10 human clinical cases per year. But the combination of animal infections, particularly of cows and wild boar, together with several consecutive years of drought, led in 2018 to a contamination of non-flowing water bodies in the north of the country – the optimal conditions for leptospirosis. The result was that 630 people were suspected of having contracted the disease in Israel last year.Jericho sore (cutaneous leishmaniasis)Jericho sore is caused by a unicellular parasite. Sandflies in Israel and surrounding areas contract this parasite from infected rock hyraxes (a small mammal native to the Middle East and Africa). Over the past decade, there has been a rise in human morbidity from Jericho sore in new locations, such as in communities of the West Bank.In recent years, the rock hyrax has reached the urban environment, where it finds abundant food and comfortable living conditions. Its new presence in population centers has significantly elevated the risk of the spread of Jericho sore. This was seen in the form of local outbreaks in West Bank neighborhoods in 20

Source: The menace of waves of infectious diseases – Israel National News

Advertisements
Standard

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.