Hat1 Task 3

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Environmental and Global Health Issues
Western Governors University
Community Health Practice
HAT1 Task 3

May 15, 2013

Environmental and Global Health Issues
Because of the uncertainties and evolving nature of infectious diseases, outbreaks can cause substantial fear in communities and in the general public. Such is the case with the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic in 2003. It was the first serious infectious disease of the twenty first century and questions about its origin and treatment greatly outnumbered the answers. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome

SARS is a respiratory infection caused by the coronavirus that was thought to have originated in Guangdong China but was not reported until February 2003 ("SARS Facts," 2004, para. 1). Symptoms usually begin with a temperature greater than 100° F accompanied by headaches, general malaise and occasional respiratory symptoms. A small percentage of patients have diarrhea and develop a dry cough between days 2 to 7. Most patients progress to pneumonia and the incubation period is approximately 10 days. Outbreak

After the initial report, this illness spread to more than twenty-four countries in Asia, Europe, South America and North America within the next several months. Dr. Carlo Urbain, a staff member of the World Health Organization (WHO), was very concerned about healthcare workers and made the international community aware of SARS in February 2003. On March 12, 2003, a global alert was issued by WHO and this mystery illness was given the name of SARS. The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was activated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) when cases were identified in Canada. These cases were traced back to people that had visited Asia recently. Dr. Urbain was one of the 8098 victims worldwide that was diagnosed with this disease and died one month later ("WHO," 2003). The WHO estimates that a total of 774 people died throughout the world between November 2002 and July 2003. Indicators

Epidemiological indicators are measurements that indicate or reflect the state of health in a specific population. They are beneficial in describing and measuring the effects a disaster has on a population. These measurements can later be used to determine the effect of the relief responses. Epidemiological indicators are categorized as quantitative or qualitative. Quantitative indicators are determined by concrete numeric information such as the number of people affected. Examples of quantitative indicators are prevalence, incidence, morbidity rate and mortality rate. Qualitative indicators are used to determine if the actions are producing the desired outcome or if something needs to be changed. Coverage, access and quality of services are qualitative indicators that should be defined. The quantitative measures related to the SARS outbreak were focused on the number of affected people, the location of these people and mutual contacts. Initially, it was more prevalent in people in China that came in contact with an infected individual on the ninth floor of a hotel, healthcare workers that cared for these patients and family members. After identifying the coronavirus was responsible for the disease, they were able to monitor the morbidity rate of people infected by this virus. They also could determine the mortality rate, or number of people that died, as a result of SARS. The delay from China to notify WHO of the outbreak significantly impacted the spread of SARS and is a qualitative indicator. Access to this information could have allowed public education to occur much sooner and infected people could have been quarantined. The quality of healthcare precautions could have been increased and ultimately reduced the number of healthcare providers affected. Often qualitative indicators explain the high or low quantitative results. Data

The first case of SARS was detected in November 2002 in Guangdong...
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