Emergence of Communicable Diseases due to Travel

In recent years international travel has become a threat in spreading many diseases as well as reemergence of many diseases like of cholera and others as a global health threat. As one Nobel laureate once told “The microbe that felled one child in a distant continent yesterday can reach yours today and seed a global pandemic tomorrow. This is very true in the era of “global village idea”.

Due to international travel for commerce and recreation HIV have spread throughout the world in only a few decades and created considerable fear about the possible spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and avian influenza also known as “bird flu” (H5N1). HIV is a classic example of fast spread of a communicable and infectious disease due to international travel.

There are many instances where a non existent disease suddenly appear in a particular geographical area with no history of the disease before in that area, e.g. appearance of schistosomiasis in previously unaffected lakes in Africa; appearance and outbreak of dengue fever in Latin America and appearance of antibiotic resistant strains of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and intestinal pathogens at an alarming rate in the developing countries.

There is also serious concern about possible bioterrorism by terrorists which is a of grave concerns because of use of not only standard strains of unusual agents but mutant strains as well. Only time can tell if all international travelers (as well as for everybody at who remain at home and do not travel) will need to get vaccinated for diseases like anthrax and smallpox.

International and national vigil is required for prevention of spread of infectious and communicable diseases and every individual and every Govt. need to play its role in preventing spread of communicable disease from one place to the other.

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