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Communicable diseases are caused by pathogens that are transmitted from one human to another, which makes them especially dangerous for social groups. Their effect is multiplied by the fact that the infection they cause can affect all levels of an organism, including cellular and molecular ones. Moreover, there are only two ways out of the infectious status, which include death and full recovery or rather a complete liberation of the body from the infectious agent. However, to ensure the second outcome, it is necessary to possess an extensive knowledge of these disorders. The following work focuses on the epidemiology of such three diseases as herpes simplex, gonorrhea, and bacterial pneumonia as well as their impact on the community of Miami-Dade County and ways of their identification and containment.
Herpes simplex is a viral disease that is manifested in the emergence of a characteristic rash of grouped blisters on the skin and mucous membranes. From the point of view of epidemiology, the prevalence of herpes simplex virus varies between 65% and 90%, making it the most common type of the disease (Hawker et al., 2012). The primary sources of infection are people suffering from herpes in its active stage. However, the illness can be transmitted even when there are no visible symptoms through contact (household or sexual), air drops, and from mother to fetus. The virus is contained in saliva and biological fluids, meaning that the infection can be communicated through kissing, the use of eating utensils, towels, and toys. Another way of transmission involves the use of non-sterile medical instruments, especially in dentistry and ophthalmology. In case of air drops, this process occurs in the form of SARS, which is the most common in the young age. Additionally, there may be a genetic predisposition to the disease (Hawker et al., 2012), meaning that it often occurs in families, being transmitted from parents to their children.
The effect of herpes simplex on Miami-Dade County can be perceived as an indirect one – the disease is not life-threatening, but it provides a fertile ground for the development of many other disorders as the human body becomes weakened by the virus. In particular, comorbidities may include inflammation of respiratory organs or pneumonia, meningitis, encephalitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and irregularities in the neural system. Additionally, it may cause inflammation of the liver, kidney, or pancreas, interruptions in the work of the heart and blood vessels, and the Alzheimer’s disease (Hawker et al., 2012). All these disorders have a devastating effect on people, lowering the overall health level of Miami-Dade County and reducing its productivity, which may lead to various social and economic problems. Moreover, during pregnancy the infection is particularly dangerous. In the first trimester, formation of the body of the baby, as well as all of its systems occurs. Herpes may not only disrupt this process, but also provoke a miscarriage. In the last days before childbirth, as well as during the feeding period, unprotected children often become primary targets of the disease, which results in problems in their development, external and internal deformities, and even death (Hawker et al., 2012). As a result, herpes may have an impact on Miami-Dade County in the long-term perspective, gradually lowering the birth rate and reducing the population.
Gonorrhea is an acute inflammation of the urethra and cervix that is usually accompanied by the release of pus and is caused by gram-negative diplococci (Gonococcus). From the point of view of epidemiology, these bacteria can be considered to be parasites. They quickly perish outside the human body. The infestation usually occurs through direct sexual contact of a healthy person with a sick one. Occasionally, the infection is transmitted not during a sexual intercourse, but through infected toilet articles and underwear. The increased susceptibility of the mucous membranes of the urinary organs, rectum, nose, throat, mouth, tonsils, and conjunctiva to the disease is due to biochemical, hormonal, immune, and anatomical and physiological characteristics of the human body (Hawker et al., 2012), which makes them attractive for the bacteria.
The effect of gonorrhea on Miami-Dade County cannot be viewed unambiguously as it depends on the nature of the disease. On the one hand, it can be considered as a relatively harmless though extremely unpleasant local infection. However, its complications and consequences can be very dangerous. It is especially true for chronic forms of gonorrhea because of an unobtrusive nature of its development (Wright, 2013). As a result, the inflammation process affects many organs and systems and ultimately the entire organism, lowering the quality of life of a person and, to some extent, people around the patient, meaning that the community starts experiencing negative effects as well. Moreover, in women the inflammation extends upward from the vagina into the uterus and fallopian tubes. In turn, the inflammatory process in the fallopian tubes is fraught with the development of their obstruction, which results in infertility (Wright, 2013). In this regard, the long-term effect of gonorrhea on Miami-Dade County is similar to that of herpes with it resulting in the lowered birth rate.
Bacterial pneumonia is an acute infection of the lower respiratory tract that is caused by a pathogenic microbial flora. It can be transmitted through the aspiration of secretions of the oropharynx, inhalation of an aerosol containing micro-organisms (i.e. contact with the carrier of the disease), and the spread of the pathogen from the extrapulmonary site of infection (e.g. endocarditis or septic thrombophlebitis). Additionally, it can occur due to the direct spread of infection from neighboring affected organs (for example, by an abscess of the liver) or as a result of injuries of the chest (Webber, 2016). Thus, this illness can be contracted in a variety of ways.
The effect of bacterial pneumonia on the community is rather direct with it occupying the fourth place in the list of lethal diseases in the United States. Moreover, the mortality increases with age up to ten times. Minimum lethality is observed in case of pneumococcal pneumonia, while the one caused by anaerobic pathogens is particularly dangerous for the society, especially in case it is combined with substance abuse. Moreover, error ratio in the diagnosis of pneumonia reaches 20% with it being diagnosed in the first three days only in a handful of patients (Webber, 2016). In turn, this fact does not contribute to the timely response to the disease and, therefore, the successful outcome of treatment. As a result, bacterial pneumonia may drain the human resources of Miami-Dade County relatively quickly, resulting in its social, demographical, and economic deterioration.
Identification and Plan of Actions
The three communicable illnesses described above can be identified in different ways. In the case of herpes, this process is relatively easy due to obvious external symptoms of the disease, i.e. a group of crowded bubbles with clear content on the inflamed skin, itching, chills, and malaise. However, manifestations of gonorrhea (yellowish-white discharge from the urethra, painful urination, and intermenstrual bleeding) are not visible to the common observer, which dictates the need for a thorough examination of potential carriers of the disease. Still, the identification of gonococcus is also relatively simple usually due to the large size and morphology characteristics of the pathogen. The most common method of laboratory diagnostics is a direct microscopic examination of the discharge (Hawker et al., 2012). Finally, bacterial pneumonia can be identified by its external symptoms (coughing with mucopurulent sputum, sudden fever, and chest pain), which can be complemented with the X-ray, microscopic examination of sputum, as well as general and biochemical analyses of blood (Webber, 2016).
By taking into account that all of the listed diseases have some common features (i.e. they are communicable and can spread rapidly), it is possible to develop the following plan of their containment, using provisions of the Healthy People 2020 program as a basis. First of all, it is imperative to identify and isolate people suffering from the described illnesses to prevent an outbreak and organize their treatment. After that, preventive measures are to become the primary focus of the plan (Perrin, 2016). In particular, it is important to promote the healthy lifestyle (immunization, adherence to the rules of personal hygiene, etc.). Additionally, it is necessary to convey the importance of a responsible sexual behavior to members of the community of Miami-Dade County, which must become an integral part of relations between men and women. Nowadays, traditional taboos and a negative attitude towards sex outside of marriage have become obsolete, meaning that they must be replaced with the personal responsibility for one’s reproductive health, as well as for the health and fate of the beloved (Ayim, 2011). This way, it will be possible to prevent the spread of the pathogens, thus improving the health level and productivity of the community.
Communicable illnesses have a particularly devastating effect on the society due to a quick transmission of viruses and bacteria that cause them. In case this problem is not addressed, the well-being of a community as a whole may be jeopardized in the long-term perspective. Therefore, it is imperative to identify them as soon as possible, while also developing a plan of actions aimed at their containment. Naturally, the steps may differ depending on the type of diseases. In particular, for such illnesses as gonorrhea, herpes, and bacterial pneumonia, they are to include isolation of carriers of the disease and promotion of the healthy lifestyle among members of the society. However, the primary goal, which is maintenance of the high level of health within a particular social group, thus ensuring its longevity and productivity, must always remain the same.
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