Community health concerns

Not that I’m an expert, or have any special knowledge on community health, but, there is a heightened awareness in our world and community health concerns. Here are a few bits of information available from the web today.

Influenza – While the impact of fluvaries, it places a substantial burden on the health of people in the United States each year. CDC estimates that influenza has resulted in between 9 million – 45 million illnesses, between 140,000 – 810,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 – 61,000 deaths annually since 2010.

Coronaviruses (CoV) – are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.

Most vulnerable are the elderly, as well as people with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory illness, high blood pressure and cancer, according to an article in The Scientist, a magazine for people in the life sciences field. As Lisa Gralinski, a virologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said in the article: “If you’re over 50 or 60 and you have some other health issues and if you’re unlucky enough to be exposed to this virus, it could be very bad.”

Children, especially those younger than 9, were not susceptible to severe disease; none died. “We see relatively few cases among children,” said World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Other research suggests that men may be more prone to serious disease than women, but these are preliminary data and may reflect the fact that more men than women in China smoke cigarettes, according to the article.

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. 

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

“This virus is probably with us beyond this season, beyond this year, and I think eventually the virus will find a foothold and we will get community-based transmission,” said Redfield. “Right now we’re in an aggressive containment mode.”

Stay aware of your environment, stay informed, do the right thing, be well.

“Blessings on your journey”

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