Communicable diseases represent a critical challenge for resource-strapped public health infrastructures worldwide. As evidenced by the outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003, influenza A H1N1 (or "swine flu") in 2009, Ebola and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 2014, and the Zika virus in 2016, infectious diseases can spread rapidly within countries and across national borders. In China alone, the World Bank estimated the economic cost of SARS at $14.8 billion, and while both Europe and the United States were largely spared its ravages, the epidemic impacted global gross domestic product (GBP) by $33 billion. In an era of global air travel and densely concentrated, interconnected populations, most countries remain woefully underequipped to stem the tide of such infections. Public health policymakers are tasked with deciding the nature and timing of appropriate courses of action to prevent, detect, and respond to an infectious disease outbreak.
STD and HIV cases have increased nationwide and gone up and down California. And Long Beach now has the state's second-highest rate of chlamydia and third-highest rates of gonorrhea and syphilis. No one factor explains the increases, but health officials point to the popularity of online dating apps, casual hookups and evidence that young people who are busy and otherwise healthy often don't bother with condoms or routine checkups.
This story was originally published by Undark and appears here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Joanne Seiff, a resident of Manitoba, contracted Lyme disease a couple of years ago but didn't remember pulling off the tick that bit her; nor did she have the telltale bullseye rash of a tick bite. Her husband Jeff Marcus, who grew up in New York's Hudson Valley, about an hour and a half from the eponymous town of Lyme, Connecticut, recognized her symptoms immediately because Lyme disease was common there. Canadian doctors, however, were not convinced. "Even though we had been telling people for months that she had Lyme disease and that all she needed was about four weeks of antibiotics, we were seeing specialist after specialist, and getting the same run-around," Marcus says.
What does it mean to be human? The answer to this is, like humanity, in constant flux, evolving with our species and the times. But one essential, defining element for centuries is our mortality. All people get sick, and all people die. But advanced technologies like AI could help change all of that -- if the expert minds behind them succeed, that is.
Autoimmune diseases, infectious disease and cancer have become increasingly difficult to treat using conventional methods that do not take into account individual genetic, environmental, and lifestyle differences. Developing new personalized treatments is like trying to work a vast, multidimensional jigsaw puzzle with pieces that are constantly changing shape.
Wendy Williams is on the mend following a health scare last week which required her to take three days off from "The Wendy Williams Show." The 53-year-old talk show host opened up to fans who have been left in the dark over her ongoing issues, and explained how they would affect her show going forward.
Public outreach campaigns can prevent the spread of devastating yet treatable diseases such as tuberculosis (TB), malaria and gonorrhea. But ensuring these campaigns effectively reach undiagnosed patients, who may unknowingly spread the disease to others, is a major challenge for cash-strapped public health agencies. Now, a team of USC Viterbi School of Engineering researchers has created an algorithm that can help policymakers reduce the overall spread of disease. The algorithm is also optimized to make the most of limited resources, such as advertising budgets.