Disease Fighters Look To Old Outbreaks For Key Information About Modern Epidemics   Leave a comment

…an interesting reminder that sometimes in dealing with modern epidemics, it is better to learn how past epidemics spread in order to deal with them today.

publichealthwatch

historical disease outbreaks

Newly-discovered patterns in old outbreaks of childhood illnesses — such as polio, and scarlet fever — could help modern disease fighters as they work to combat emerging epidemics. That’s the focus of new research by Kevin Bakker, a disease ecologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, who found that studying these historical outbreaks could yield key insight into the factors underlying the spread of disease.

In the new analysis, Bakker and colleagues created a visual plot to map the progression of a range of childhood diseases, including diptheria, polio, and scarlet fever, as they spread across the US. ‘I was interested in examining whether the timing of these childhood infections peaked at different times of the year across a spatial scale,’ said Bakker.

The researchers found that two of the diseases — scarlet fever and diptheria — both swept across the United States from south to north.

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Posted August 20, 2014 by Matthew in Uncategorized

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