January 2018: High-Consequence Pathogens
What Does High-Consequence Pathogens Mean?
The January 2018 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases features several articles about high-consequence pathogens. A pathogen is a biological organism that causes disease or illness in its host. But if any pathogen can cause disease, which in itself is a negative consequence, why are only some pathogens considered to be of “high consequence”?
High-consequence pathogens have one or more of the following features:
• potential to cause epidemics or pandemics
• infect/affect many people
• spread rapidly in a short time
• infection results in high cost to society (loss of worker productivity)
• infection results in high cost to the healthcare system
About the Cover – Of Rats and Men: Poussin’s Plague at Ashdod
Nicolas Poussin (1594–1665) was a brilliant French Baroque painter whose art was inspired by biblical and mythological scenes. Poussin depicts the Plague at Ashdod (1630) (Louvre Museum, Paris, France) in one of his best works, inspired by an episode from chapter 5 of the Book of Samuel. On this large canvas, rats run through buildings and among dead and dying bodies. The Book of Samuel, written during 630–540 BCE, recounts the capture of the Ark of the Covenant by the Philistines, who moved it to the city of Ashdod. “Soon after receiving the Ark rats appeared in the land and death and destruction spread throughout Ashdod. The Philistines, young and old, were struck by an outbreak of tumors in the groin and died.” The Philistines sent the Ark back to Israel with a guilt offering of “five gold tumors and five gold rats,” models of the pestilences destroying the country.
You can read the entire About the Cover essay here.
Plague in Uganda
Dr. Paul Mead, a medical officer at CDC, discusses his article on Plague in Uganda.
Video: Human Pathogenic Escherichia coli O157:H7
Geogenomic Segregation and Temporal Trends of Human Pathogenic Escherichia coli O157:H7, Washington, USA, 2005–2014
Plague (from the Latin plaga, “stroke” or “wound”) infections are believed to have been common since at least 3000 BCE. Plague is caused by the ancestor of current Yersinia (named for Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin, who first isolated the bacterium) pestis strains (Figure 1).
You can read the entire Etymologia here
Books and Media: Deadliest Enemy: Our War against Killer Germs
In the world of infectious diseases, there are many microorganisms that regularly infect humans. However, certain infectious diseases have special significance to society and persons therein. In Michael T. Osterholm and Mark Olshaker’s book Deadliest Enemy: Our War against Killer Germs (Figure), the explicit purpose is to provide “a new paradigm for the threats posed by infectious disease outbreaks in the twenty-first century.” This fast-paced and attention-grabbing book is focused on “those maladies with the potential to disrupt the social, political, economic, emotional, or existential well-being of large regions, or even the entire planet.”
You can read the entire Book Review here.
See where articles in the journal come from by using the Articles By Country Search.
Permalink: EIDEAS No. 1 - High Consequence Pathogens (Jan 2018)