Disease outbreaks are fundamentally the same as epidemics. Epidemics or outbreaks occur when there is a rapid growth of the infected. The rise of cases of infectious disease can happen every year and in any country. It can last for weeks or even for years. The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus two years ago started in Wuhan, China. When it spread rapidly to other neighboring countries, it became a pandemic. Pandemic has changed our way of life. Everyone is now adjusting to the so-called new normal. As we gradually adjusted to the effects of the pandemic, headlines about the outbreak of a new virus do not scare us anymore as they did before. Especially now that vaccination is ongoing and many citizens have been vaccinated. If we go back to history, a disease outbreak does not only refer to the spread of infectious diseases. A single case of a rare infectious disease can also be classified as an outbreak. An example of this is Anthrax.
Factors That Can Influence Outbreaks
Environmental factors – water supply, climate, sanitation facilities, and air quality- play a role in transmitting an infectious disease. Poor living conditions result in poor hygiene, improper disposal facilities, and lack of safe water are usually the significant elements of a diarrhea outbreak. Climate affects the outbreak of airborne diseases. Infectious diseases caused by viruses spread rapidly through air and infect a large number of the population in a short time. But a hot climate can also help lessen the spread of viruses. One example is the coronavirus. Though it can be transmitted through air, it cannot last long in hot weather. Therefore there are fewer cases in countries with hot climates than cold temperatures.
Things You Should Know
Do you know that there are other causes of disease outbreaks? Infectious disease is not the only cause of disease outbreaks or epidemics. There have been disease outbreaks caused by exposure to chemicals and disease outbreaks.
Chemical Disease Outbreak
An example of this is the Jamaican ginger paralysis. The culprit of the outbreak is the tri-ortho-cresyl phosphate which contaminates the dialysis filter machines. It causes neurological illness to patients undergoing dialysis in six countries.
Disease Outbreak With Unknown Etiology
A disease outbreak is caused by a new modified pathogen, natural toxin, or exposure to a chemical released by an unknown source. One example of this outbreak is the Nodding disease in Southern Sudan which until the cause is still unknown.