Infectious Diseases in our Readers' Countries

Red Rainbow Boulia
Flooding of the Burke River in Queensland, Australia
photo by Sunrise on Seven
What do the following countries have in common?  Australia, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Indonesia, New Zealand, The Netherlands, United States, United Kingdom, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Venezuela.  The Febrile Muse has had visitors from these 18 countries. Our histories and climates are different, and our countries are affected by different organisms.  However, being human and needing to make sense of our experience is a shared quality. The beauty that can arise from our concerns, fears, persistence, and endeavors is incredible.   To thank past readers, I would like to highlight some recent infectious disease-related photography, illustrations and music that have come from our countries.  If you know of more work that I can highlight, please let me know.

Currently, many of our countries are highly impacted by water washing soil and animal microorganisms into our daily lives. In Haiti over 3500 people have died due to cholera, and the infection has spread to the Dominican Republic (and other countries due to travel).  Flooding in Australia is leading to soil organisms [Burkholderia pseudomallei  (melioidosis)]  and Enterococci  causing disease.  Increased mosquito breeding grounds also result from flooding.  Brazil and Australia are seeing an increased incidence of Dengue fever (not to be confused with Dengue hemorrhagic fever). There have been over 3000 cases of dengue fever in Brazil, with a few deaths.  Health officials are urging stronger mosquito control measures.
Image:Chikungunya virus photo - togaviridae.png
Chikungunya virus
from Citizendium; unknown illustrator

Dengue fever is also seen in Egypt, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, American Samoa, and Australia, along with other countries with tropical climates.  Increased amount of mosquitoes can also lead to increased incidence of malaria, yellow fever and chikungunya virus, just to mention a few.

Two music groups, Dengue Fever and Double R (have not been able to positively identify this artist) have brought infectious disease into their realm of creativity.  Dengue Fever is a very exciting Cambodian-American band with a haunting sound.  "Ragga Chikungunya" is catchy.  If someone could help me pinpoint the origin of it, I would appreciate it.

For other music produced by Dengue Fever view their Myspace page.

Also spread by mosquito, Chikungunya, a virus appears to be increasing in Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand.  Health officials feel that it will likely spread to some parts of Europe. The disease is not thought to be fatal, but severe arthritic pain and swelling can result.

Recent stories of food recalls and microorganisms in our food, such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria, have hit many of our countries.  Wide-spread safety issues are directly linked with mass-production of food.  Recent stories have emanated from Canada, US and Australia.  An illustration of Salmonella highlights its travel and invasiveness.

Domestos on the Behance Network; by Graphik Boutique

Dave Manley; The Journal-Standard 2009
Many infections can be prevented by vaccination.  Most of the countries on our reader list have been affected by Influenza, Swine flu, and the fear of the spread of avian flu to humans.  Russia, whose immunization rates are half those of other developed countries has  recently had a very difficult time controlling the spread of Influenza.  Over 90,000 people have been infected, and many schools have been closed.  Health officials are working hard to try and contain the spread.  The incidence appears to be diminishing.  A recent paper by Cauchemez and others highlights social networks of school-age children and the influence those networks have on the spread of influenza.  An interesting observation is that when schools are closed after at least 27% of children have already been infected, the opportunity to decrease the spread is missed.  Earlier closing of schools may have helped contain the spread.

Measles, due to the fraudulent yet persuasive nature of  Dr. Wakefield's studies, is increasing in many countries, and the MMR vaccination rate is low enough in some areas that herd immunity is endangered.  Many other vaccine preventable diseases are still occurring, such as polio (Russia), pertussis and pneumococcal pneumonia in California and Canada, TB in the UK (they offer BCG vaccination), and meningococcus in France.  Most of our countries are dealing with the issue of undervaccination, not just the ones mentioned.  These are only examples.

When writing this post, I initially wanted to mention each country individually.  I quickly discovered how it would appear that I was picking on them.  All of our countries are concerned with the health of our citizens, and we must work hard to support each other's efforts.  I wish you all the best, and thank you for reading.


Health Map, the CDC, and WHO

Cauchemez S., Bhattarai A, Marchbanks TL, et al. Role of social networks in shaping disease transmission during a community outbreak of 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza. PNAS Early Edition.

Next Post:  "Outbreak":  Biosafety Levels and Hemorrhagic Fever


  1. Very good information on Dengue fever. Although it can be cured by using Ayurvedic Fever Remedies


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