The emergence of new, the reemergence of old, and the appearance of drug-resistant pathogens have increased significant challenges in the global health sector. Developing countries are continuously threatened by vector-borne diseases and gastrointestinal infections that result in augmented morbidity and mortality rates. Although there are measures and campaigns established in the attempts to eradicate these epidemics leading to significant reductions in their adverse implications, many diseases are still persistent and remain to be a threat to the lives of many people in the world. Some of these epidemics include malaria, hepatitis tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, measles, pertussis, and STD’s such as gonorrhea, syphilis, and Chlamydia. Other dangerous illnesses include Lyme, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, St. Louis encephalitis, and West Nile encephalitis. The primary challenge hindering the control of some of these epidemics in the US and across the world is the lack of consistency and equal distribution of successes influenced by ethnic groups and social class. Hence, minorities and the poor are more affected. Moreover, some pathogens are perceived to be used as weapons by terrorists. Scientific surveys have established that initially unrecognized more morbidity and mortality are caused by cervical cancers, stomach ulcers, and coronary artery diseases.
Drug-persistent diseases are caused by various pathogens including bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi such as Candidacies. In the endeavor to control and prevent diseases, the Healthy People 2020 Program expects to deal with them categorically according to the risky implications of the illnesses. The easily transmitted and associated with high rates of mortality are given priority in Category A, less challenging to disseminate, and with high morbidity but low mortality are classified in Category B, and C includes emerging pathogens that can be pervasively distributed. Furthermore, the program has objectives that have been listed in 38 different topic areas to enable it to evaluate and assess the best strategies that can be used to control and prevent communicable diseases. Nurses should be aware and knowledgeable of the risks imposed by infectious diseases and be ready to take part to contribute to the mitigation projects.
Infectious illnesses develop in various stages from the time a specific pathogen selects the appropriate and accommodative host from which they are transmitted to another person. Transmission involves a chain of six links including an infectious agent, reservoir, portal of exit, mode of transmission, portal of entry, and host susceptibility where each significantly contributes to the transferring process. Communication can be controlled and prevented in various ways including;
- Host Susceptibility
- Breaking the Chain of Transmission
- Controlling the Agent
- Eradicating the Nonhuman Reservoir
- Managing the Human Reservoir
- Controlling the Portals of Exit and Entry
- Improving Host Resistance and Immunity
Immunity is comprised of two types, natural and artificial, and they both might be either active or passive. Active immunity involves the production of antibodies to counter antigens while passive is administering antibodies to the body. Herd immunity involves the protection of unimmunized individuals who are integrated within a population where those immunized are evenly distributed. While other illnesses are known as individual diseases, communicable diseases are referred as community diseases because they have the potential to affect many people within a certain geographical area.
CDC is a national health entity, and it is responsible for assisting the government or states to counter epidemics and outbreaks, and it involves several control aspects including
- Common control terminology,
- Reporting diseases,
- Preventing diseases by vaccination
Other organizations such as the WHO’s Expanded Program on Immunizations (EPI) are focused on international control and prevention of communicable diseases in an attempt to reduce morbidity and mortality rates. CDCs contain a list of the infectious diseases that are made available to the health units to enhance the contributions of medical assistance in curbing illnesses. The WHO regulates universal immunization while AAPCID and ACIP agencies provide recommendations, procedures, and policies regarding immunizations in the US. The types of immunizing agents include vaccinations, immune globulins, and antitoxins. CDC provides health centers with a list of vaccine-preventable diseases. The types of vaccines include live attenuated and inactivated, and proper precautions must be considered during vaccines’ storage, transport, handling, administration, spacing, hypersensitivity, and contraindications. Other measures concerning vaccination and that are essential include vaccine documentation and needs for special needs and groups. The Center for Diseases Control has documented chain transmission and control of vaccine-preventable illnesses in childhood.