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Epidemiology and tragedy

My sickness seems to be not getting any better or any worse; rather, it wanders around my body like a demented slime mould, stretching its pseudotentacles about my symptoms. Some get more intense with the presence of its multinuclear periplasm. Others do not vanish, but linger in the background from the damned residue the shambling illness left in its wake.

But, as they say, that which does not kill me can only make me stronger.

In other micro related news, I am deeply distressed at the occurance of tetanus in the survivors of the tsunami tragedy. I don't think I can ever truly comprehend the extent of the damage or loss of life, because the figures are just too large for me to get my head around with only the experiences in my own life to measure it by. I suppose at times like this, the mind will always focus on something that it *does* understand, that it can comprehend - and for me, that is disease.

Malaria is always going to be a problem after such disasters, as it dysentry and other such diseases which I am familiar with, have been educated about, and have studied off my own bat (did I mention that for a long time I wanted to be an epidemiologist?). Sure, it's awful that such things will happen, but the sad truth is that even in a first world country with excellent medical support, something like malaria will *always* be a danger after a disaster such as a tsunami or a flood.

Tetanus, on the other hand... Tetanus is one of the easiest diseases to vaccinate against. It is one of the safest vaccines, and one of the longest lasting. Sure, need to get a booster every ten years, but that will give you virtually perfect protection against the bug in question (unlike some vaccines which are really only 90%, or even as low as 30%, effective). It is also one of the few diseases that a patient can be successfully vaccinated against *after* they have been exposed to the microbe.

I heard on the news today that so far about 5 people had died from tetanus in one city. I can think of few more horrible ways to die than from tetanus. Look it up if you are really curious.

The fact that it is so easily treated, and the fact that it is such an unpleasant disease, really brought the true horror of this tragedy home for me, and I was finally able to see but a glimpse of how awful the situation is.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
meleah
Jan. 11th, 2005 06:37 am (UTC)
Just a quick comment to say this is one of the cooler posts of yours I've seen! bring on the epidemiology!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )