A new study went to show that although the infectious diseases rates have maintained somewhat constant, some of their risks have increased.
The study was conducted by a team of scientists led by a University of Arizona assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, Heidi Brown.
Its results were published this week in the JAMA or the Journal of the American Medical Association and were based on official government statistics.
The official records show that the United States infectious diseases rates have been keeping steady. The data used in the study spanned from the 1980’s up to 2014.
By analyzing it, the researchers found that the national infectious diseases death rates maintained a relatively steady percentage.
In 2014, from a standard of 100,000 analyzed deaths, 46 percent had been caused by one such disease. The rate is not much higher as in the 1980’s, in the same etalon, 42 percent of the deaths had been caused by an infectious disease.
However, according to the scientists, the death percentage is not enough as the potential risks and disease treatments have changed quite significantly since then.
The rates have not always maintained a steady level as in 1995, the HIV/AIDS epidemics led to a 63 percent death rate.
AIDS death rates have since declined thanks to the introduction of new drug cocktails that have made HIV more manageable.
Still, as deaths related to HIV fell, the same could not be said about other diseases as whilst some remained steady, other threats continued to rise.
Pneumonia and flu complications are amongst the affections whose death rates have maintained steady throughout the years.
In contrast, amongst the infectious diseases to have registered death rate rises one can include West Nile, which is transmitted through mosquito bites. The C. difficile gut infection death rates have also increased.
According to the aforementioned Brown, the study goes to show that while some improvements have been made, infectious diseases still pose a threat.
She continues by stating that as some of these death rates have maintained steady and other have risen, physicians and scientists have to maintain their vigilance.
The study team found that one of the most important elements in the death rates was vaccination. This was observed especially when comparing child to adult respiratory infectious diseases, such as influenza.
As the child death diseases rates fell due to the early vaccination, the adult death rates have maintained at a steady level.
This result emphasized the importance of the yearly flu shots and pneumococcal vaccine, as they can protect patients from various cases of pneumonia.
Also, one of the main advantages and disadvantages of modern health practices was determined to be the use of antibiotics.
The president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, Dr. William Powderly, backed the finding. According to him hospitals and physicians have been using increasingly more powerful antibiotics in the battle against stubborn infections.
Although useful, they are also responsible for the reduced number of useful body bacteria. Dr. Powderly also draws to attention the unnecessary use of antibiotics in easy to treat flues.
Powderly pointed out the existing concerns about the inability to keep pace with the increasing drug resistance in treating infectious diseases.
Image Source: Wikimedia