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Health Threats of the Past That Are Reappearing

Modern medicine has already managed to effectively treat and cure many of the diseases that used to infect people, some of which would turn out to be fatal or even reach an epidemic scale with very high death tolls. However, there are still some diseases that have not been eradicated, and due to certain reasons like the ability of patients to travel very long distances or the recent movement against vaccination, their incidents are beginning to appear once again. Following is a list of a few of such diseases.

Cholera

cholera in HaitiThe story of the reappearance of cholera in Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the entire world, is disturbing, to say the least. Until 2010, Haiti did not have a noticeable amount of cholera incidents for over a century. But, in that year, a lot of cases started appearing along the coasts of the Meille River. It turned out that United Nations soldiers from Nepal (a country that was facing a cholera outbreak at the time) were stationed in a military base, and all of the base’s liquid waste was poured directly in the Meille. As a result, a huge number of people were infected, thus starting an enormous epidemic that has so far taken the lives of almost 10 thousand people, and the situation has not been yet fully controlled even today.

Syphilis

Just like several other STDs, the rise of syphilis cases is mainly caused by one thing: the tendency to engage in unprotected sex. Since the invention of new and improved HIV treatments that have generally stopped the virus from being a death sentence (in most cases, anyway), the use of condoms started declining, probably because many people think that AIDS is the only STD than can kill them. This is totally false and also very dangerous. If syphilis is not treated at its early stages, it can cause loss of vision, dementia and even death.

Diphtheria

A recent case of the disease received big media coverage since it was the first time it appeared in the country (Spain) since 1987. The victim was a 6 year old boy whose parents chose not to vaccinate him. Sadly, diphtheria eventually killed the boy, reminding us how extremely crucial vaccination is, especially for a disease that turns out to be fatal for 10% of the people it infects.

Leptospirosis

This deadly bacterium can be transmitted to humans when they come in contact with infected animals. Once the tropical storm Ketsana struck Philippines back in 2009, many streets were, naturally, flooded. The water was far from harmless since it contained some amounts of urine from all the rats that lived in the now flooded sewer system and other places where water could reach. This event triggered an epidemic killing a little less than 160 people, with a mortality rate of about 10%. Another outbreak in India 7 years later had an even more alarming mortality rate of 33%.

All of the above are reminders that the fight against a disease can never stop until it is officially eradicated. Until then we have to rely on science and make sure we take all the necessary precautions in order to not only protect ourselves but also the people around us.

Alexandr Sedishev