Epidemic Disease : How To Prevent Spread Of Epidemic Diseases?
What is an epidemic disease? Epidemic is a term which denotes widespread or widely prevalent. A disease, which spreads rapidly and over a wide area, in a very short span of time, is termed an epidemic disease.
In the past diseases like smallpox, chicken pox, tuberculosis, measles, diptheria, whooping cough, malaria, dysentery or cholera have caused epidemics around the world. Influenza, bird flu, swine flu, HIV/AIDS are still prevalent today.
How are epidemics spread? These diseases are spread by various modes like air or water, or by contagion and touch. Sometimes, insects too can lead to an epidemic.
Dysentery and cholera are spread by contaminated water. Various other skin diseases also spread through water. This could be drinking water or by using facilities which require the use of common water bodies like swimming pools or spas.
Small pox, chicken pox, measles, tuberculosis and whooping cough are spread through the air. The virus is released by the infected person, and is inhaled by a person who is in the vicinity.
Epidemics of malaria or dengue have been caused by mosquitoes. These insects bite an infected person, and suck in the microbes causing the disease. When they next bite another healthy person, they pass these germs into the blood of that person.
HIV/AIDS is caused by contaminated syringes, medical injection needles or through infected blood transfusions.
Relevance of spread of epidemics today: The boom in international air travel has increased the risk of spreading these infectious and contagious diseases even more rapidly.
All these diseases have an incubation period of a few days, when it is not possible to diagnose that the person has contracted a particular disease. If that person travels from one country to another within that incubation period, he becomes a carrier, carrying the disease to that particular country, where it may trigger off an epidemic.
Preventing Spread Of Epidemic Disease
It is thus very important to first prevent the spread of an epidemic disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on all the countries to co-operate whole-heartedly in order to prevent such world-wide health emergencies.
Immunization: Getting immunized is the first step. The countries which are prone to certain disease epidemics, must ensure that their population is immunized against it. Immunization drives against polio, small pox or yellow fever are some examples.
These countries must also ensure that any resident of that country, when traveling abroad, must be immunized to avoid being a carrier of the disease. Similarly, any person entering that country must also be immunized before entry, so that they do not become infected by it.
Information Sharing: All countries must frankly share information about an outbreak in their country, and what steps are being taken to contain it.
Other preventive measures: Each country must also take health measures to completely eradicate such diseases, by making stringent rules about cleanliness and hygiene. Drinking water, milk, maintenance of swimming and spas can be regulated by strict government laws.