Showing all posts tagged: disease

Rabies, a deadly virus from which few people recover

28 July 2022

According to Wikipedia, fifty-nine thousand people die from rabies annually. Once infected — commonly by way of a dog or bat bite — the prognosis is grim: death is a virtual certainty. There is some good news however, if you suspect you may have been infected somehow, you can still get the rabies vaccination which should halt the disease. But you need to act quickly.

Rabies, a word deriving from Latin word, means madness, and is the subject of this month’s Kurzgesagt video, which they describe as the deadliest virus on Earth. If you’re not a Kurzgesagt subscriber, I highly recommended following them. They have a knack for explaining complicated concepts in simple terms, while being engaging at the same time.


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What’s behind the return of monkeypox?

27 May 2022

C Raina MacIntyre, Professor of Global Biosecurity at UNSW, writes about the recent monkeypox outbreak, which may be linked to the discontinuation of vaccine programs for the now eradicated smallpox virus, an immunisation that also offered protection from monkeypox.

Scientists have puzzled over why a previously rare infection is now becoming more common. The vaccine against smallpox also protects against monkeypox, so in the past, mass vaccination against smallpox protected people from monkeypox too. It is 40 years since smallpox was declared eradicated, and most mass vaccination programs ceased in the 1970s, so few people aged under 50 have been vaccinated. There are even fewer in Australia, where mass smallpox vaccination was never used, and an estimated 10% of Australians have been vaccinated. The vaccine gives immunity for anything from five to 20 years or more, but may wane at a rate of about 1-2% a year.