According to Ulisses Confalonieri, globalization increased emerging diseases’ transmission speed

Publicação: 10 de January de 2018

Research and surveillance strategies in Brazil are important to point to emerging risk situations and indicate disease containment measures

In order to avoid becoming hostages of virus and bacteria that seem to rule the world, we must promote healthy habits and preserve the environment

A research by the World Health Organization on deaths by tropical neglected diseases in Brazil, between 2000 and 2011, revealed that 76,847 people died from diseases such as Chagas (58,928 deaths), schistosomiasis deaths (6,319) and leishmaniasis (3,466 deaths). Still according to the WHO, tuberculosis along with HIV/Aids is one of the deadliest infectious diseases in the world. Over 95% of the deaths by the disease take place in average and low-income countries and it is among the five main causes of deaths of women from 15 to 44 years-old. Most of the dead by Aids, malaria, tuberculosis, pneumonia, measles and diarrhea are young people from developing countries.

However, this picture also affects developed countries. As populations and globalization advanced, disease-causing agents started to circulate much faster, traveling across continents from day to night. Today diseases travel by airplane and are transported in passengers, food or animals. To full researcher at René Rachou Research Center, from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Dr. Ulisses Confalonieri, globalization increased these diseases transmission speed increasing infection risk due to great and fast mobility of people and goods. To him, a way to avoid becoming hostages of viruses and bacteria that seem to rule the world is to promote healthy habits and preserve the environment.

Some weather events can also cause infectious diseases outbreaks under indirect weather influence. According to the WHO, global warming will cause 250 thousand additional deaths per year until 2030. To Doctor Confalonieri, the way to mitigate or avoid this situation is through climate change adaptation strategies, as increasing food safety, environment preservation, water supply safety, etc.

The research still warns that poverty and deforestation, along to stress-related organic resistance, inadequate nutrition, pollution and others, are factors responsible for the rise of new infections and return of epidemics that seemed to have been eradicated. He says to be pessimistic about epidemics and public health in Brazil due to a general decrease in life quality, by deficient governance and health system inefficiency. “I believe we are at risk of future threats. There is always a potential for the emergence of new health problems, but it is hard to make predictions”, he observes while adding that research and surveillance strategies in Brazil are important, since they are able to point emergent risk situations and indicate disease containment strategies.

Regardless of the expected shifts in tropical or infectious diseases dynamics or their occurrence areas, climate change and globalization will require new ways to control and prevent these diseases in a close future.…