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Malaria, Leishmaniasis, Dengue Fever and Plague Term Paper

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Malaria

Malaria existed long before the origin of humanity. This dangerous disease known for its numerous lethal cases through the whole course of human history is even known to take away the life of one of the most prominent personalities in the ancient world, Alexander the Great. Nowadays, malaria is spread in the territories which are good for malaria mosquitoes’ life, where it is warm and wet; thus, malaria is mostly dislocated in African countries. During the history of humanity, malaria mosquitoes also inhabited the other territories including North America and Europe. However, the inhabitants of those lands put a lot of efforts in order to exterminate the causative agents of malaria in their area. As a result, malaria is not common in the United States.

Malaria is contracted from being bitten by a mosquito. Mosquitoes are carriers of this terrible disease. While biting their victims, malarial mosquito infects the blood of the person with the microorganisms causing the development of this disease in the victim’s body. The other way of being infected is through blood transfusions. In the countries where malaria is spread, namely, in African countries, many patients get infected with malaria through blood transfusions. This sad situation is caused by the expensiveness of testing blood for malaria agents.

The symptoms of this disease are high temperature transitioning into severe fever, headache, and in more complicated forms, malaria causes coma leading to death.

The health of infected individuals is threatened by this disease as it affects such important cells as red blood cells, and is also incubated in liver. At times, this disease may lead to ruining liver of the infected person, but, fortunately, this happens rather rarely.

Malaria becomes very common in the territories where it occurs. Such territories are the territories where the circulation of mosquitoes is great along with dense human population.

The treatment of malaria is directed to fighting the symptoms of the disease including high temperature along with the measures for destructing the microorganisms causing the disease. Varied treatment strategies can be applied in every particular case depending on the severity of the patient’s condition along with the individual’s age, weight, pregnancy and so forth.

The economic impact of malaria can be hardly underestimated. The countries where malaria is commonly spread such as African countries are badly affected. In particular, malaria is rather expensive in its treatment which causes additional economical problems for the countries already having them. In addition, malaria often takes away the lives of young population robbing governments of their labor power (Chen, Kleinman, and Ware 108)

The status of this disease today is quite active. Though malaria has been known for centuries, it is still common in a number of territories around the world. The microorganisms causing this disease are constantly modifying which leads to developing newer and newer forms of malaria.

In the near future, the scientists’ prognosis regarding malaria is not consoling. The disease will continue its triumphal march causing numerous economical and sociological problems along with taking away lives of millions of people (Chen et al. 109).

Finally, the social impact malaria has is mind-blowing. In a row of territories such as poor African countries, malaria takes away the lives of the majority of children and young people. Thus, only aged population is left in such territories which is ruining for the demographic situation in such areas. In addition, malaria, spread in specific territories around the world where malarial mosquitoes abide, presents a problem for the travelers from the other lands. The explanation of this problem is in the fact that their organisms are not adjusted to malaria, and the disease causes more damage to them as a result. For example, many African people endure this disease rather easily as sort of flue; however, white people experience lots of complications and their lives are often threatened by malaria (Chen et al.110).

Leishmaniasis

Leishmaniasis is a severe infectious diseases caused by the microorganism called Leishmania parasitic protozoa. The first references to this disease are related to the earliest periods of human civilization. Among them are the prints of King Ashurbanipal describing some terrible and vicious malady leaving an individual mutilated. Since that time, this disease was registered in a variety of places with hot climate including Africa, South America, Asia and even the south of Europe. Until 1901, when Leishmen registered the organism causing this disease as a unique one and called it by his name, this malady had the most different names. Leishmaniasis is not mentioned as spread in the United States.

Nowadays, leishmaniasis is distributed in a number of hot countries with humid climate such as India, Pakistan, Peru and many more. This is explained by the characteristics of its causative agent which is able to live in hot and wet areas.

Leishmaniasis is contracted through the insects which carry its causative agents. According to Farley (27), leishmaniasis is ‘spread through the bite of female sandflies infected with any of about 20 different species of Leishmania parasites’. When the infection appears in the organism of its victim it starts its active extension on the skin and the surrounding tissues.

The symptoms are chronic skin lesions located on the person’s face, arms and legs. In severe cases, the patient experiences fever, weakening of general organism’s condition and significant weight loss. If the disease is not cured properly, it may fully destroy the patient’s face tissues including the tissues of nose, mouth and cheeks. ‘The only current way to confirm a leishmaniasis diagnosis is by finding parasites in a clinical specimen’ (Farley 28).

Leishmaniasis is not very common in the areas where it occurs. The disease strikes only those who were bitten by certain species of insects carrying the causative agents of leishmaniasis. Normally, people do not contact with those insects very often. As a result, not many people in a particular area are infected. In the world, only 12 million people are infected by leishmaniasis (Farley 26).

The treatment if this disease is directed to destroying its causative agent. During around 21 day the patient is to be injected by the curing vaccine. Unfortunately, leishmaniasis leaves deep and ugly scars on the face and body of its victims (Baker 11).

The economic impact of leishmaniasis is not significant nowadays as the disease is not very common around the world.

The social impact that leishmaniasis has is especially significant for the victims of this disease. These people feel ashamed on the reason of ugly scars they get. These scars are located on the victim’s face and the other body parts which makes the person look very scary. As a result, the people affected by Leishmaniasis try to avoid social contacts in order to save themselves from discouraging comments concerning their appearance. With regards, to the impact leishmaniasis has on society in general, it is not that significant as the disease is not very common nowadays.

Today, the main problem related to leishmaniasis is connected to it being neglected. There exist numerous other diseases in the world which are constantly investigated in order to produce new medicines for them and develop new preventive strategies. However, leishmaniasis is not among them. This is the main problem behind this infection. In the near future, the World Health Organizations sets a goal to conquer this disease to the full extent. This is to be achieved mainly by implementing such preventive measures as full elimination of the insects carrying leishmaniasis parasites.

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever is known to the world since it was described by Chinese medics in the third century CE. The world has known its deadly impact in the eighteenth and nineteenth century when the epidemic of this disease took away the lives of millions of people in Asian and African countries (Wills 163). In the twentieth century, dengue fever was spread during the World War II which could be explained by the environmental crisis as a result of military actions and the application of dangerous weapons. The outbreaks of this disease are registered all over the tropical countries in the world along with the US Virginian islands.

Dengue fever is contracted by mosquitoes which transmit a family of viruses causing this disease. This disease is only carried by a striped Aedes aegypti mosquito. When the insect bites its victim it infects the person with a virus causing the spread of the disease. The incubation period usually continues for five to eight days after which the infected person starts feeling unwell.

The symptoms of this disease are chill, headache, low backache, pains in eyes. Then the person experiences fever along with severe pains in arms and legs. The eyes acquire red coloration; the person experiences extreme sweating. The blood pressure becomes low, and the heart rate becomes slow. When the disease is spread all over the body, the temperature rises to forty degrees Celsius which is considered to be a threat for the person’s life. At the final stage of the disease, abundant rash covers the victim’s body.

The impact of dengue fever on the health of the infected individuals is significant. It may lead to severe complications, especially in case the infected person is a child. Among the most undesirable complications of dengue fever are dengue hemorrhagic fever and circulatory collapse.

The infection is relatively not common in the area of its transition. This is explained by the fact that the virus is not spread from one human being to the other; it is only contracted through the bite of the infected mosquito. However, during rainy seasons, these mosquitoes can become many which would significantly speed up the spreading of this disease.

The treatment of dengue fever is very much complicated by the fact that its causative agent is virus. As a result, the disease cannot be cured; its effects on the organism may be only softened by the medicines working with its symptoms such as fever and pains. The vaccine against dengue fever is not available.

The economic impact of this disease is rather strong in the countries where it is spread. Each year this disease costs the budgets of those countries millions of dollars. In addition, labor power is strongly affected by dengue fever which significantly worsens the impact of the disease. The other area which is affected economically is touristic business. Tourists are terrified to visit the countries where the outbreaks of dengue fever are registered. This is especially so with the white travelers as their body is more significantly subjected to complicated cases of dengue fever.

The social impact of dengue fever is also very unlikable. Each year it takes away the lives of around 25 thousand of people. Annually, around 100 million people appear in the hospitals with severe forms of this disease. And around forty percent of the population of the world lives in the areas subjected to the risk of being infected by dengue fever.

Today, dengue fever is a very dangerous disease. And this is very upsetting reflecting on the fact that scientists have long fought to develop vaccines against it. In addition, treatment strategies against Dengue fever also did not go far. Through the centuries to pass, the specialists in the area of medicine simply learnt how to help the victim of Dengue fever to cope with its symptoms. In the near future, the World Health Organization sets a goal to eliminate the mosquito species carrying Dengue fever in order to prevent this disease.

Plague

Plague has been long known to the humanity as one of the most severe and terrible disease which ever existed. The first mentioning about this deadly disease is found in the Hebrew Scriptures. The biblical writer, Samuel, described the account where the enemies of God’s nation were punished by plague for their ungodly acts (Boeckl 6). Through the Middle Ages, plague, called ‘black death’ during that period, took away the lives of millions of people in Europe, Asia and Africa. Until the seventeenth century, plague continued to kill millions of people in Europe. Nowadays, the disease is considered to be destroyed on the reason of human progress including the higher standards of hygiene and preventing rats’ appearance in people’s houses. However, through the periods of its spreading, plague is believed to take away the biggest amount of people’s life ever. In the United States, the disease was rarely registered among the first settlers who came from Europe.

Plague is contracted through the contact with the infected animal, insect or human. Speaking about ways of plague contraction, it is important to understand that there exist various kinds of plague which are caused by various bacteria. The most common kind of plague is bubonic plague which is caused by Yersinia pestis. These bacteria were carried by lice that bit rats infecting them. Rats were common visitors of people’s houses and watersheds. As a result, the disease was spread very fast among the majority of people inhabiting the area. The other kinds of plague are also contracted through the contact with the infected animals, insects or humans.

The symptoms of plague also vary in accordance to its type. The main symptoms of plague of any type are fever, pains, and general weakness of the whole organism. Bubonic plague has its main peculiarity of developing ‘buboes’ which are actually swollen glands. After the period of a few days to a week, the person dies out of full exhausting of one’s organism. The other kinds of plague are less deadly; however, they appear to be very dangerous for the infected individual as well.

The infection is utterly common in the areas it occurs. Almost all the population of the infected area is affected, and is subjected to a rapid death in a few days. During the period of Middle Ages, the cases of recovery were very few.

The cure of plague requires total isolation of the infected person. Even today, the existing strains of plague are very dangerous for the infected person and every person in contact with him/her. The isolated person is to be subjected to medication by streptomycin or gentamycin. The other strong antibiotics are also applied in order to destroy the causative agent of the disease. In addition, the treatment therapy includes a number of medicines working with symptoms of plague.

The economic impact of plague is not significant today as the disease is not very common. However, in the earlier periods, plague destroyed the entire inhabited world along with its economy. The situation is similar with the social impact of plague.

Today, the strains of plague are used as biological weapons. Fortunately, the disease is not considered to be common in the world nowadays. The prognoses concerning the future are rather hazy.

Comparative Characteristic

In the following section, the above-discussed diseases are going to be discussed in terms of their significance to the humanity. A number of categories will be addressed in order to make conclusions concerning the impact that malaria, leishmaniasis, dengue fever and plague have on varied areas of human life.

History

Comparing historical facts, it appears that plague had the biggest impact on humanity. It took away the biggest amount of lives, and caused the most terrible economic, social and demographic harm to the affected countries. The other disease causing a lot of damage in the history of humanity including nowadays is malaria.

The Distribution in the United States and Worldwide

Malaria appears to be the most common disease in the world of the four mentioned. In the United States, dengue fever is more common as it is registered on the territory of the American Virginian islands, and is often brought to the country by the tourists travelling to the tropical countries where it is spread.

Ways of Contracting

All of the discussed diseases are contracted through the living organisms which appear to be the carries of their causative agents. However, plague can be contracted through the contact with the other infected human which makes this disease the most dangerous one.

The Symptoms

In terms of the symptoms, plague is the most dangerous disease causing lethal issues in around 60 to 75 percent of its cases. Leishmaniasis can be mentioned as the disease robbing its victims of their joy in life in the most significant ways as it leaves terrible scars on its victim’s bodies and faces. Dengue fever can be also very destructive when it has its complications such as dengue hemorrhagic fever and circulatory collapse.

The Impact on Health of Infected Individuals

Plague has the most significant impact on the health of the infected people as this disease is deadly in the majority of its cases. The other terrible disease to cause strong harm to the organism of its victim is leishmaniasis.

The Spread of the Disease in the Areas where it Occurs

Regarding the spread of the disease in the area where it occurs, plague occupies its first place. It is explained by the fact that it contracted not only by the insects and animals carrying it, but by the infected humans as well. In case the infected person is not isolated, the other people having the contact with him/her are sure to be infected as well. Judging from this point of view, the other problematic disease is Malaria. Malaria is very common even nowadays despite so many efforts by people to exterminate it completely. Malaria is known since the very beginning of human civilization, and it is still developing. Newer and newer forms of Malaria are registered around different countries where malaria mosquitoes abide.

The Treatment

In terms of treatment, all the four diseases under consideration present significant difficulties. However, the most difficult is dengue fever as this disease is caused by virus not by bacteria or a microorganism as it is with the other three diseases. Dengue fever can be only treated by means of controlling the state of the patient and helping him/her to lighten the symptom expression.

The Economic Impact

The most significant economic impact is caused by Malaria. Malaria is very common in the poor and developing countries. This disease affects the population of these countries very actively. Thus, the economic situation is even worsened as the governments have to spend significant amounts of money just to help the infected ones. As a result of such expenses, financial funds are not enough for preventive measures directed to extermination of malaria mosquitoes. The other side of the problem is in the impact of Malaria on labor power. People who are supposed to work in order to help their country to go out of the crisis are listed among the categories of its major expenses instead.

Social Impact

Among the four diseases under consideration, malaria is a leader again. The social impact malaria has can be hardly underestimated. In the number of areas, malaria is the most frequent reason for deaths among children. It is also the most frequent reason of people’s hospitalization. Malaria is considered to be more harmful to the humanity in a social way more than AIDS. In this vein, there exist numerous remote territories in African countries where the biggest part of local population is killed by this ‘merciless assassin’.

The Status of Disease Today and in the Near Future

In this category, Malaria appears to be the disease causing the biggest amount of concerns again. Nowadays, Malaria causes more problems to humanity than any of the diseases considered in this paper. The social and economic impact of malaria is mind-blowing. It is often addressed by the high officials of different world organizations. For example, the World Health Organization is so concerned by the effects of malaria that it sets its goal to exterminate the biological species of malaria mosquitoes in order to destroy the carries of malaria infection. The United Nation Organization expresses similar concerns, and establishes its goal in exterminating malaria which will help to solve the major part of economic problems of developing African countries.

Works Cited

Baker, Mark. “Little Monsters.” The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR) 2011: B11. Questia. Web.

Boeckl, Christine M. Images of Plague and Pestilence: Iconography and Iconology.

Kirksville, MO: Truman State University Press, 2000. Questia. Web.

Chen, Lincoln C., Arthur Kleinman, and Norma C. Ware, eds. Advancing Health in Developing Countries: The Role of Social Research. New York: Auburn House, 1992. Questia. Web.

Farley, Dixie. “Treating Tropical Diseases.” FDA Consumer. 1997: 26+. Questia. Web.

Wills, Christopher. Yellow Fever, Black Goddess: The Coevolution of People and Plagues. Cambridge, MA: Addison Wesley, 1996. Questia. Web.

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