COVID-19 in context

COVID-19 has caught the headlines, and for good reason. According to the WHO, there have been 109,577 confirmed cases (3993 new on 9 Mar 2020) and 3809 deaths (225 new as of 9 Mar 2020) The stock market has plunged. Sporting events have been halted all over Italy. And the rise of cases has been…

COVID-19 comes to California

On the night of Donald Trump’s first major speech on the corronavirus called COVID-19, California announced the first person-to-person transmission of COVID-19 in the US. The L.A. Times reports: It is not clear how the person became infected, but public health workers could not identify any contacts with people who had traveled to China or…

Antibiotic prescribing

Antibiotics are valuable drugs. Being able to quickly combat infections if very important. However, overuse of antibiotics is problematic as the infecting organism may mutate more rapidly, leading to antibiotic resistant strains of the disease. Thus, when there is evidence of an infection, we should prescribe antibiotics; when there is no evidence, we should not.…

Coronavirus lands in the US

Today, the first case of coronavirus was identified in the U.S. The man was infected when he traveled to visit relatives in the Wuhan, China. Here are some helpful FAQs. Where has the coronavirus spread? The CDC website reports: Chinese authorities first identified the new coronavirus, which has resulted in close to 300 confirmed human…

Winning the fight against tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) kills the most people in the world of any other pathogen. While treatments are available to fight TB, there are a number of challenges. First, many individuals may have latent TB where the disease may be contagious before symptoms are apparent. Second, the spread of HIV has also been problematic for controlling TB,…

Polio eradicated in Africa?

Some positive news as reported in The Economist: On August 21st Nigeria marked three years since its last documented case of wild polio. That means the country is set to be declared polio-free by the World Health Organisation-backed Global Polio Eradication Initiative. If that happens, probably next year, all of Africa will be officially free…