Public Perception Of Diseases


 Reply to two prompts in 100 words each. No sites are needed, these are just thoughts on the prompts.

(Original prompt for your consideration,

Public perception of infectious diseases is managed and mismanaged through a variety of channels. Sometimes the population may have knowledge of a disease only from seeing a movie. Choose a highly contagious disease. Compare the scientific information about it with how its effects are portrayed/communicated to the public.

Approach this discussion by answering the following questions. When you have the information, compare your answers to how you think the public perceives the contagious disease.

  • What are the symptoms, and what causes them?
  • How has it been studied?
  • What are the defenses that enable it to survive and spread?
  • How can immunity be established? )

Prompt 1:  For this exercise, I have elected to speak of mumps. Before the United States started the mump vaccine program in 1967, about 186,000 cases were reported each year. It can be fatal; however, its occurrence is exceptionally rare. It has been known to cause testicular inflammation, swollen ovaries, viral meningitis, pancreatitis, permanent deafness in children, and occasionally, encephalitis.

It is a highly contagious viral infection that can be transmitted by droplets or contact, much like the cold and flu. Its average incubation period is 17 days. While swelling of the parotid (salivary) glands which produces the cheeks to puff out, along with pain, tenderness, and difficulty swallowing are its most common symptoms, some of its more generalized symptoms include headache, joint pain, dry mouth, and a temperature of or above 38 degrees Celsius.

The first written description of the mumps dates as far back, as the 5th century B.C. when Hippocrates described an outbreak on the Greek island of Thasos. While various studies had been carried out through the 19th and 20th centuries the viral etiology of mumps was finally discovered by Claud D. Johnson and Ernest W. Goodpasture in 1934 when they concluded that Rhesus monkeys infected with a virus found in specimens of saliva from patients exhibiting the initial stages of mumps, went on to contract the disease themselves.

In 1945 the virus was first isolated, allowing for an inactivated vaccine to be developed in 1948. Unfortunately, this vaccine had short-term effectiveness, it was not until 1967 when the FDA licensed Mumpsvax, a vaccine developed by Maurice Hilleman.

Thus far, true immunity has not been established. Interestingly, many believe that by receiving the vaccine they are immune to the virus, when, having received the mumps vaccine is no guarantee that you will not contract the mumps. Perhaps, there is not enough literature explaining the disease and the vaccine. Then again, it may be due to our own disinterest which enables it to survive and spread.

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