The COVID-19 pandemic that emerged in early 2020 doesn't seem to have run its course. Daily average cases, though have declined notably, stood at 110,084 in the U.S. as of Thursday, according to data provided by New York Times.
As the world still grapples with COVID-19, incidences of monkeypox virus infection stirred fears of a déjà vu in the minds of people. The list of infectious diseases that currently threatens the global order may be longer than one can imagine.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases defines emerging infectious diseases as those that have newly appeared in a population or those which existed but have been rapidly increasing in incidence or a geographic range.
Here's Benzinga's compilation of the infectious diseases that one needs to be mindful of:
1. Monkeypox: Monkeypox is caused by a virus that belongs to a scientific classification called Orthopoxvirus. This group also includes the variola virus that causes smallpox and the cowpox virus. It is transmitted from animals to humans. The current wave is mainly reported among men having sex with men.
Monkeypox viral infection causes symptoms similar to the ones produced by the smallpox virus. A monkeypox viral infection starts with a fever, headache, muscle ache, and exhaustion, and it stays for 5-21 days.
Multiple clusters of monkeypox infections have been reported in several countries since early May. About 12 countries that are not endemic to the monkeypox virus have reported incidences of this virus since May 13, the WHO said on its website.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there is no currently available treatment for treating the monkeypox virus. The outbreak can be controlled by the smallpox vaccine, cidofovir, SIGA Technologies, Inc.'s SIGA ST-246, and vaccine immune globulin.
2. Melioidosis: Melioidosis, aka Whitmore's disease, is caused by the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. It spreads to humans and animals through direct contact with contaminated water and soil.
The infection will manifest as localized, bloodstream, pulmonary, and disseminated infections. It can be treated with intravenous or oral antibiotics that include ceftazidime, Meropenem, Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, or Amoxicillin/clavulanic acid.
3. Hantaviral Infection: Hantaviruses are spread mainly by rodents, and the class of viruses found in the Americas is known as "New World" hantaviruses. These viruses cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.
Flu-like symptoms such as fever and fatigue occur in infected persons. If this is accompanied by shortness of breath and if the affected person has a history of potential rural rodent exposure, then it could be the case of hantaviral infection.
There is no specific treatment for the hantavirus infection. Early diagnosis and treatment of the infected person in the intensive care unit will help.
4. Dengue: Dengue is caused by dengue viruses that are transmitted by mosquitoes. As it often causes severe joint and muscle pain, it is called "break-bone" fever. Severe dengue infection could be life-threatening.
There is no specific treatment for Dengue, although the symptoms of the infection can be treated.
5. Ebola: Ebola virus infection is a serious and often fatal disease in humans and non-human primates. This virus is spread through direct contact with the body fluids of a sick person. Symptoms can be fever, headache, muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and severe bleeding.
Currently, there are two Food and Drug administration-approved therapies for the infection caused by the Zaire ebolavirus in adults and children. These are Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.'s REGN Inmazeb, an antibody cocktail, and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics' Ebanga, a single monoclonal antibody.
6. Lyme Disease: Lyme disease, caused by Borrelia burgdorferi and at times by Borrelia mayonii, is transmitted through the bite of infected black-legged ticks. Typically, the infection causes symptoms that include fever, headache, fatigue, and a kind of skin rash called erythema migrans. If the infection is untreated, it can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous systems.
Once infected, the affected person can be treated with a few weeks of antibiotics.
7. West Nile Virus: West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne infection. Most infected persons will not exhibit symptoms, while one in five infected people will develop a fever and other symptoms. Less than one percent of the infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal neurologic illness.
There are no vaccines or specific medicines for the infection, and to reduce fever and relieve other symptoms, over-the-counter pain relievers are used.
8. Bird Flu: Avian flu or bird flu refers to the disease caused by infection with avian influenza Type A viruses. Domestic poultry and other bird and animal species can contract the infection from wild aquatic birds and spread it to humans. Avian influenza A viruses H5, H7, and H9 usually infect humans.
Flu antiviral drugs can be used to treat Avian flu viral infection.
Photo by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
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