The public health burden of infectious disease

Control of infectious disease remains a major focus of many public health efforts. Today, less-developed countries often bear the brunt of many of the world’s infectious diseases, including those caused by mosquitoes, worms, and other tropical parasites. However, there are many types of infectious disease that are not limited to geographic boundaries and have been known to cause world-wide pandemics, including plague, smallpox, and influenza. In this Discussion, you have the opportunity to discuss a few of the overarching themes that relate to infectious disease.

To prepare for this discussion:

After reviewing the resources for this module, reflect on the following items before responding to the discussion prompts in the next section:

  • Think about a challenging aspect of parasitic disease that interests you, such as reducing morbidity (illness), reducing mortality (deaths), or preventing new cases. How are poverty and parasitic infections related and how does infection vary by geographic location? How might your tactics differ based on geographic location? If you had 20 million dollars to allocate to a poor country, what would you do with it in order to achieve the greatest impact on the parasitic disease burden in that country? What are the most effective control strategies? Are there any positive health aspects to certain types of parasitic infections? How might cultural competence factor into achieving your goal(s)?
  • Think about a challenging aspect of a particular infectious disease that interests you and about the challenges for prevention and control of this disease. For example, does this disease already have a vaccination, and if so, is the challenge in getting people to get vaccinated, or in creating a vaccine, or something else? How does the biology of a virus (for example, influenza or HIV) or bacteria (for example, TB or MRSA) present a challenge for its control? How can/do some organisms cause pandemics and how are different species (humans, animals) involved in that process? What do you think may be the next infectious disease pandemic, and why? What organisms do you think are most at risk for bioterrorism use, and why? What efforts are in place to prevent infectious disease related bioterrorism, and are they sufficient?
  • Think about the role of antibiotics for control of infectious disease today. What are the primary public health concerns for antibiotic use today? Should there be a ban on certain antibacterial products? Why or why not? Who is responsible for prevention and control of multi-drug resistant infections and is enough being done to curb them? Are we at risk of running out of effective antibiotics in the future? Why or why not?

To complete the discussion, respond to these prompts:

By Day 3 of Week 8

Respond to the following points in your initial posting, using section headers to organize your responses:

  • Select and describe one challenge for either prevention or control of a parasitic disease (e.g. malaria, helminths) and describe two examples of how this challenge is currently being addressed in public health practice. In your response, explain the issue and the particular barriers, and support your ideas with resources.  Try to choose a topic that has not already been posted by others to expand the knowledge set.
  • Select and describe one challenge for either prevention or control of a particular infectious disease and describe two examples of how this challenge is currently being addressed in public health practice. In your response, explain the issue and the particular barriers, and support your ideas with resources. Try to choose a topic that has not already been posted by others to expand the knowledge set.
  • Select and describe one challenge for prevention or control of a particular antibiotic resistance situation and describe two examples of how this challenge is currently being addressed in public health practice. In your response, explain the issue and the particular barriers, and support your ideas with resources.  Try to choose a topic that has not already been posted by others to expand the knowledge set.

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