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…

Impact of air pollution on health

There is an increasing awareness of how air pollution is affecting health. As McHardy et al. (2020) report in the Health Affairs blog: Ambient air pollution is a key risk factor for preventable noncommunicable diseases (NCDs): It kills more than four million people every year globally. Worldwide, air pollution is responsible for 29 percent of all deaths and disease…

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.…

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,…