Although avian flu is the medical media favourite, there are five other diseases we need to be concerned about. Due to the ease of international travel, climate change and drug resistance, a few deadly nasties are making their way around the world.
Earlier this year, World Health Organization scientists gathered in Geneva to update pandemic preparedness details. This meeting resulted in a list of diseases which deserve our close attention.
1. Malaria - green circles on the map - spread by mosquitoes, destroys blood cells and causes kidney failure.
2. Smallpox - orange circles - eradicated in 1980 however, vaccine stores are kept in US and Russian labs. It could be stolen and spread by accident or through bioterrorism.
3. West Nile Virus - purple circles - spread by mosquitoes which catch the disease from birds. Although not always deadly, there is no cure for the infection.
4. Ebola - grey circles - spread by body fluids, causes massive internal bleeding.
5. Dengue Fever - yellow circles - spread by mosquitoes, debilitating disease also called "breakbone fever."
Not wanting to state the obvious, but we need to eradicate the mosquitoes.
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