Please update your browser

You're using a version of Internet Explorer that isn't supported by Questia.
To get a better experience, go to one of these sites and get the latest
version of your preferred browser:

The Year of the Outbreak: Swine Flu Might Not Be as Deadly as Some Feared, but There Are Many Other, Less Publicized Outbreaks Killing Millions across the World Each Year That Health Officials and Risk Professionals Must Confront

By Coffin, Bill | Risk Management, July-August 2009 | Go to article overview

The Year of the Outbreak: Swine Flu Might Not Be as Deadly as Some Feared, but There Are Many Other, Less Publicized Outbreaks Killing Millions across the World Each Year That Health Officials and Risk Professionals Must Confront


Coffin, Bill, Risk Management


Following a sharp rise of H1N1 "swine flu" cases in Australia in June, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared that the ongoing epidemic had reached pandemic status. This marked the first officially declared pandemic by the WHO in 41 years, though experts were quick to point out that pandemic status denotes how widespread a disease is, not its severity. Still, the fact that as of July 6 only 429 (or 0.45%) of the 94,512 cases of H1N1 identified worldwide have proven fatal has led many to feel that the media coverage of the outbreak has been sensationalist reporting at best or, at worst, fear mongering.

Even though Mexico City shut down for several days in May to contain the disease, and Egypt conducted a nationwide swine cull in a misguided effort to prevent the disease from entering the country, the global effect of HIN1 has fallen far short of the worst-case scenarios noted by pandemic experts in recent years. In terms of public impact, HIN1 is on its way to join SARS and the H5N1 "avian flu" as diseases whose barks were worse than their bite.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

What throws the risk posed by the current pandemic in stark relief is the ongoing toll taken by any number of diseases currently infecting people across the planet. At the moment, outbreaks of malaria, dengue fever and cholera underscore just how persistent and severe disease risk continues to be, not just in the developing world, but any place where conditions for the rise and spread of infection exist. But in every case, there lies the opportunity to curtail the impact of the disease.

Case in point: the bubonic plague. The dreaded "Black Death" that killed a third of medieval Europe's total population is still fairly common in subSaharan Africa. Recently, Libya reported a plague outbreak near the Egyptian border town of Tubruq that infected up to 18 people and killed at least one. The cause of the outbreak was traced back to old water pipes that were contaminated with the plague bacterium Tersinia pestis, which is typically carried by rodents and insects.

Reports of the outbreak caused alarm in Egypt, but Libyan health officials, who have experience dealing with the disease, moved swiftly to identify those infected and treat them with antibiotics. Within days, the local Tripoli Post reported that the outbreak had been contained and the infected had been cured. Despite this success story, bubonic plague remains a health concern in Asia and even in the United States, where cases are periodically reported.

A more acute epidemic recently struck the people of Zimbabwe when a nation wide outbreak of cholera sickened nearly 100,000 people and killed more than 4,200 between February and June of this year. By the beginning of the summer, the epidemic seemed to be tailing off, but further casualties appear likely. The cause of the outbreak was a regrettably prevent able one: a lack of access to clean water.

In February, the Zimbabwean government had all but ceased to function over disputed election results, following years of endemic incompetence and mismanagement. The result was a hyperinflation of the national currency that crippled the Zimbabwean economy and left officials incapable of preventing even basic utilities from breaking down. Clean water supplies ceased to exist throughout much of the country, providing the perfect conditions for cholera. Nongovernmental organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and the Red Cross proved instrumental in treating known cases but, ultimately, the incident serves as a grim example of the consequences of the failure to provide basic disease risk management.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Year of the Outbreak: Swine Flu Might Not Be as Deadly as Some Feared, but There Are Many Other, Less Publicized Outbreaks Killing Millions across the World Each Year That Health Officials and Risk Professionals Must Confront
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.