new technologies in nursing and medicine

Pandemic Potential: Understanding Diseases on the Global Threat Radar

As the COVID-19 pandemic made clear, diseases and viruses have the ability to wreak havoc if the public isn’t prepared to combat them. This being the case, tracking diseases and viruses has become a top priority for government and health organizations across the globe.

Keeping up with these types of developments can help one develop a more thorough understanding of public health and the risks we as a society face in the modern world.

Here is understanding diseases on the global threat radar.

The Importance of Preparedness

The COVID-19 pandemic brought economies across the world to a halt and cost countless people their lives. The devastating effects of this pandemic highlight the immense need for different countries to be prepared to respond quickly and effectively to disease and virus threats.

While medical developments, such as breakthroughs in research, the use of new technologies in nursing and medicine, and other innovations in healthcare, have been significant, they haven’t yet eradicated the threat of diseases.

By staying aware of the various potential threats in the world, we as a society will be better able to respond in the case of a health emergency. This being the case, it’s important for everyone to stay aware of these threats as they arise and understand how professionals are quelling them in their tracks.

The Danger of Viruses

Viruses pose a significant threat to the entire human population across the world. While some may be less destructive, others are incredibly harmful and can quickly escalate to pandemic levels if left unchecked.

The reason viruses have the potential to be so dangerous is their ability to mutate, change, and harm humans. Viruses mutate in order to survive as it’s a natural process. In some cases, these mutations result in strains of viruses dying off completely.

In other, more dangerous cases, however, these mutations strengthen viruses and make them more threatening to human health and life. Essentially, when viruses evolve, they sometimes evolve the ability to defend themselves against medical treatments. In these cases, many lives can be lost as experts work to develop new treatments that can combat these strengthened mutated viruses.

Virus Threats to Be Aware Of

There are a number of viruses that are currently on the global radar as potentially devastating. These viruses fall into two distinct categories, namely: RNA viruses and DNA viruses.

Coronaviruses, which cause ailments such as the flu, are in the category of RNA viruses. The reason that these are so dangerous is the fact that they mutate incredibly quickly, often making it difficult for experts to keep up and produce effective treatments.

RNA viruses to be aware of include:

  • HIV-1
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Flu viruses

DNA viruses differ from RNA viruses in keyways. Essentially, DNA viruses are able to copy their DNA into the cells of humans. This can have a range of devastating effects and must be taken seriously. DNA viruses cause viruses such as smallpox, which once devastated populations before effective vaccines and treatments were discovered.

DNA viruses to be aware of include:

  • Herpesvirus
  • Orthopox virus
  • Adenovirus

As the public becomes more educated on the risks of various viruses, it is more likely that more people will take proper precautions to safeguard themselves from them. Consequently, it’s incredibly important that governments and health organizations prioritize the education of the public as well as the tracking and eradication of dangerous diseases.

The Threat of Diseases

Though both have the potential to harm humans, viruses and diseases are not the same. However, diseases may occur as a result of humans contracting viruses.

While the definition of what constitutes a disease can be broad, it essentially means an abnormality or dysfunction in an organism, such as a human.

Unfortunately, though diseases may be difficult to define, they’re not difficult to recognize as a serious threat to human health across the world. As such, it’s important to be aware of diseases that are currently being monitored as potentially catastrophic.

According to Johns Hopkins, some worrying emerging diseases include:

  • SARS
  • Lyme disease
  • Zika virus
  • Dengue fever
  • West Nile virus

According to some medical experts, increased instances of global travel are increasing the threat of diseases spreading. Part of this has to do with the fact that certain populations have immunity to some diseases while others don’t. As a result, travelers can spread previously unrecognized or ignored diseases to vulnerable populations, potentially leading to a catastrophic outbreak.

Thankfully, people can reduce their risk of contracting or spreading dangerous diseases of this nature by taking some key precautions. These include:

  • Consulting a medical travel expert prior to traveling
  • Taking proper immunizations
  • Understanding medical care options in places one is traveling to

Ultimately, tips such as these, along with other key information, need to be communicated more clearly to citizens across the world. Hopefully, as the dissemination of this type of information is more prioritized, global outbreaks of deadly and harmful diseases can be avoided.

The Public Must Be Aware of the Threat of Emerging Diseases

Though the COVID-19 pandemic was a huge wake-up call for many people, nations, and organizations, there is still more work to be done. The threat of emerging diseases is more significant than it ever has been and the public needs to be made aware of this.

As time goes on, many are hopeful that society will become more focused on tracking and stopping diseases and that countless disease-related catastrophes will be avoided.