Epidemic

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Environmental and Global Health Issues
Focus: SARS
 
Community Health Nursing
HAT Task 3
 
Kambrea Childs
December 2012

 
 

A: Communicable Disease Outbreak:

Severe acute respiratory distress syndrome, SARS is defined by the United States Department of Medicine as a severe form of viral pneumonia that results in respiratory distress that ranges from mild to severe and can even lead to death. (n.d. A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia) In February 2003, the SARS virus was first reported in Asia and before containment it accounted for over 8,000 deaths worldwide. (NCBI, n.d.)

The spread of SARS occurs as follows:
• Close Contact
• Respiratory Droplets from a cough or sneeze
• Object or surface contamination
• Some forms can also be spread via airborne.

It has been reported by the Center for Disease and Control and Prevention that what is now referred to as the 2003 Outbreak, was spread throughout the world by means that are the reality of actions that take place every day. A doctor cared for sick patients that were infected with a superbug not known to him at that time. He then stayed in a hotel in Hong Kong. 12 people that came into contact or close proximity to him during his stay became infected. Those 12 people went on their way and within 24 hours took the disease with them infecting more than 350 people during their travels to 6 countries. Once in those countries the outbreak spread like wildfire. (CDC, n.d.)

The epidemiological indicators associated with SARS gives justification for the very serious attention this outbreak received. Consider the following: Who, What, Where, When, and how can an outbreak like this occur. The answers are clear and the reality of how easy this virus affected so many people so quickly is scary. The symptoms of SARS are very similar to those associated with the common cold. Mucus production resulting in coughing, sneezing and running nose. This allows for mucus to become airborne, allowing infected droplets to travel as far as 3 feet in the air. These droplets find their way onto surfaces of commonly touched areas such as doorknobs, tables, chairs, and railings. They also find their way on other people due to crowded or close proximity associated with the majority of our daily activities. Once infected the virus begins its course throughout the body of its new victim, common cold symptoms begin and the spreadable infection process continues. There is no cure for SARS.

During the SARS outbreak the World Health Organization collected data and transmitted updates via the web and media outlets to keep the communities and healthcare providers the most up to date information as they knew it. When analyzing the data that was released during the outbreak it was flooded with rumors and unproven information. It is easy to form an opinion about what should have been or what could have been reported better, but that is in hindsight. SARS was a new disease and had a tremendous outbreak in Hong Kong and mainland China. Additional outbreaks were occurring throughout the world.

The epidemiological data of the SARS outbreak is extensive and has been analyzed by many specialists in order to determine the most effective method of practice when the next outbreak occurs. Amongst the analysis of data, it was determined that there was a significant delay of correspondence during the epidemic. Critical findings were made, yet publication of this information to the necessary health professionals did not take place. There was not a system in place for proper handling of such an event. From the moment the infected person went into a public place, the spread of this illness started to take place. Within days, the path of this disease was spreading and became global through the use of mass transportation. The data would not have been gathered yet as the initial symptoms are those of the common cold. It isn’t until people become very ill that...
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