Readiness must to tackle disease outbreaks

Hyderabad: The threat of infectious diseases looms larger than ever. There is a growing need for awareness so that people can adopt preventive measures.

Experts agree with Tedros Adhanom, the director-general of the World Health Organisation, who has said that sporadic outbreaks of infectious disease can no longer be considered isolated events.  

Dr Suneetha Narreddy, a senior infectious control physician at Apollo Hospital says, “No place in the world is isolated. Viruses and bacteria are able to move from one place to another at a great pace because of tourism. There is also an increase in human-wildlife interaction and increased human intervention in places inhabited by animals, which is why there is a movement of pathogens between animals and humans. We do not know what can trigger an epidemic, but the chances of such an occurrence are very high.” 

The Centre for Disease Control has reported that the influenza virus in the United States of America is highly debilitating. The virus is being considered a major global threat. Similarly, in Yemen, cholera has become a major cause of concern.

The bacteria may spread to Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East. 

Dr Narreddy says, “We can no longer say that what happens in some other part of the world will not affect us. Control measures have to be implemented to prevent these events from turning into epidemics. The WHO has been issuing alerts from time to time, asking for preventive measures to be taken up.” 

Pathogens that were once found in only one continent, are now encountered world over. They have even mutated and adapted to local climates. 

Dr S. Shanker, the superintendent of Fever Hospital, says, “Viruses and bacteria no longer live in the environments that they emerged from. They are adapting to the environments that they have been transferred to. Because of this, it is very difficult to predict what will happen next. The world is becoming a smaller place, but increased accessibility is also leading to the spread of diseases. If the population of a particular place does not have the immunity to fight a pathogen, it can result in an epidemic.”  

Experts say that it is important to develop an immunity against pathogens. The early onset of diseases and disorders such as kidney failure, diabetes and hypertension are markers of poor immunity. Children below the age of five, pregnant women and senior citizens also have low immunities. 

Dr S. Ramakrishna explains, “It is important to ensure that vulnerable populations are strong enough to be able to deal with diseases. Often, during an outbreak, governments do not have the time to understand the disease-causing virus or bacteria. Preventive measures such as the maintenance of good hygiene, the consumption of nutritious food, and the practice of keeping fit through exercise go a long way in helping the body fight diseases.”

Source: Health – Google News

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