There has been no shortage of scary healthcare issues in the headlines over the past several weeks. Interestingly, the public fear has been disproportionate to the possibility of one of these actually impacting the health and lives of each of us or our families.
Ebola, for example, while exotic, highly lethal and without a known cure, can only be contracted through direct contact with a symptomatic patient according to healthcare professionals. At this writing, one person who came down with the disease on US soil in Dallas, Texas, has died and another, a healthcare worker who treated that patient has now been confirmed as the second US Ebola patient. The likelihood this disease will spread widely throughout the US population is minimal at best.
Scabbies, is a nasty little mite that causes severe itching and can compromise the immune system of those with secondary disorders. It is highly contagious. Two people at the Dartmouth Medical facility in Hanover, NH have been diagnosed as carrying the mite and up to 200 are at risk of having contracted it. The disorder can be treated with prescription-strength topical creams and oral medications when necessary.
Enterovirus is a seasonal virus, originally identified in 1962, has a number of different strains and affects millions of people around the world each year. The EV68 variety making headlines this year was identified in 1987 and there have been outbreaks each year. This year’s strain has affected more people and more lethally than those in the past with 700 confirmed cases and the death of five children. In terms of transmission and danger to our families, of the three healthcare issues above hands down it is EV68.
However, all three of these health challenges have one thing in common – the ability to control them and stop their spread relies on a modern, high quality healthcare system and the ability to access it. And, that is why they also have something to do with the upcoming election on Tuesday, November 4th.
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