Disease Outbreak

If you've ever read about disease outbreak throughout history, you have heard about how very fast some have spread - killing thousands in the blink of an eye. Many millions of lives have been tragically lost to disease and it is a very real danger that the same thing will happen again.

Infectious diseases are spread one of two ways. The first is from a contaminated source like a food or water supply. The second is from person to person, or host-to-host. In host to host transmission, a disease can be transmitted from an infected “host” like a flea, rat, mosquito, etc. to a person who then becomes infected.

As long as we have had historical record, we have accounts of serious disease outbreak. Beginning in the early 1300’s, the Plague killed millions of people in India, France, Norway, Scotland, England, Prussia, Italy, Africa, Russia and elsewhere. Bubonic Plague or the “Black Death” as it came to be referred to wiped out entire populations as it spread like wildfire.

Plaque in its three forms; Bubonic, Septicemic, and Pneumonic, is thought to come from the bacterium; Yersinia pestis, which basically is a group of deadly microorganisms.

The Bubonic Plague is most often spread through flea bites and most people don’t realize it is still an active disease in several parts of the world. After a person is infected, usually within six days, they will develop swollen lymph nodes in the armpit and groin area which can be very painful. If the infection spreads to the blood, it is then called Septicemic Plague. In this situation, broken blood vessels under the skin cause a dark discoloration. Both these types of plague cause bleeding, organ failure, and ultimately death.

An even more frightening example of disease outbreak is Pneumonic Plague because this is where the pathogens spread to the lungs and then can become airborne and spread quickly to others through coughing and sneezing. This very scary form of Plague can kill in as little as a few hours from point of infection.

Other disease outbreak has affected millions and continues to be of great concern. Consider that Smallpox, Plague, the Spanish Flu, Malaria, Yellow Fever, Cholera, Typhoid Fever, Measles, and several other epidemic diseases have killed literally hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

Throughout history man has experienced disease outbreak and we've always wondered how we can avoid getting sick ourselves. It's our responsibility to research and learn how to prepare against health issues and what can we do to prepare for emergencies.

It’s noteworthy to point out here that many pathogens are spread through infected water. Having clean and safe water to drink is our most basic need as humans. Water-borne illness continues to kill millions of people because they have no safe supply or are unaware of the dangers that lie in contaminated water. Make sure your water supply is safe by using filtration and sterilization methods. See Water Storage & Safety

Food contamination is also high on the list of potential danger. Thankfully in most developed countries our food supplies are relatively safe due to modern processing and preservation techniques.

However, even with these systems and procedures in place, we still get sick. It has been estimated by some studies that up to 17% of Americans suffer some form of food poisoning each year. Food-borne illnesses currently kill 5,000 people each year in the U.S. according to government statistics.

On January 4, 2011 a bill was signed into law that dictates a major overhaul of the United States food safety laws. The Food and Drug Administration now has far greater authority and there are new responsibilities for farmers and food companies - all of which are intended to prevent contamination, and to set higher safety standards for all food, both domestic and imported.

The legislation places greater responsibility on manufacturers and farmers to prevent contamination starting from the begining stages of processing to the finished product which is a big change from the way the system operates now.

The new laws replace the way of government safety inspectors trying to catch contamination after the fact. Now we have better safety precautions being put into place we hope they will be successful in reducing the number of illnesses and deaths each year.

The bill also gives the FDA authority to recall food. We currently rely on food companies to voluntarily pull products off the shelves. It further allows the FDA to access internal records at farms and food production facilities which may help identify problems sooner rather than later.

Notably, the new laws also set standards for imported foods,and requires importers to verify that products grown and processed overseas meet certain safety standards. The FDA has been inspecting only about one percent of imported food products up until now.

Unfortunately, as our populations increase, and demands become higher on food production, it is inevitable that more unsafe and potentially dangerous conditions will develop and disruptions will happen to our food supply even with increased safety regulation… another very good reason to be prepared with a well stocked pantry and supplies in your home.

You may be interested in watching a documentary about the food industry and our food supply. It is called “Food Inc.” and we encourage our visitors to watch it. For more information, go to: Food Inc. Movie.com

Okay, what about this 'host-to-host' infection? Do we really need to be afraid of disease transmission from rodents, and mosquitoes? The answer is a definite yes. Some of the scariest and deadliest diseases in the world are transmitted by something as seemingly harmless as a flea… think Bubonic Plague.

The good news is that in this informational age and because of our tremendous communication capabilities, news and precautionary advice of any serious disease threat will travel quickly. Stay aware and stay informed about potential disease outbreak.

Here are some common-sense precautions you can take to help prevent disease from affecting your family.

1) Maintain a safe water supply at home. You should own at least one type of water filtration device. When traveling, keep a portable filtration device in your 'car bag'. In emergency situations such as a large scale natural disaster, check safety of water in areas you are traveling through - if in doubt, call the local Health Department to inquire about any dangerous conditions.

2) Maintain a safe food supply. Be aware of any potential recalls on food. Use common sense food safety and storage methods. Learn more by visiting the United States Food and Drug Administration website.

3) Wash your hands before, during and after food preparation. Keep your kitchen and other food-prep areas disinfected and clean.

4) Keep your home clean.

5) Make sure your pets are treated for fleas and ticks. Take care to keep their bedding areas treated and clean. Remember, fleas and ticks are not only annoying, but can carry deadly disease.

6) Stay in your home during any disease outbreak – you can do this easily if you have basic emergency essentials on hand.

7) Teach your children the importance of good hygiene. Make them aware of how easily infectious diseases can spread. Keep them home from school, sports, and other social functions during any disease outbreak.

Use common sense and practice good hygiene. Avoid others who are ill, avoid going out in public, stay informed about localized outbreaks, and follow advice from health care professionals.

see also 'Superbugs'

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