Today my Exploring the Language of Medicine students will be learning about infectious diseases. I will start them off with the Chain of Infection. The six links in the chain are the infectious agent, the reservoir, the portal of exit, the mode of transmission, the portal of entry, and the susceptible host. The students will learn about each link and that if one link is broken, the chain of infection is broken and the spread of disease stops.
We will next study Ebola. This is one of my favorite diseases along with Malaria. I like viruses more than bacteria due to their character and mystery. The Ebola virus appears periodically and then disappears. The mortality rate is 50-90 percent. It is very deadly to humans and animals. In 1989, a strain of Ebola emerged in Reston, Virginia in laboratory monkeys. The monkeys all died or were put to death to stop the chain of infection. No human deaths from Ebola Reston were reported.
My Exploring Health Sciences students learn this as well but a little later in the school year. Infection control, diseases, and epidemiology are among my favorite topics in the study of medicine. I spent 26 years as a Navy Corpsman and one of my main jobs was preventive medicine. This included food service sanitation, immunizations, pest control and a lot more. Whenever there is an outbreak in the world, I take a break from whatever we are learning and study the disease or disaster. The Cholera outbreak in Haiti a few months ago is an example. Fortunately there is no Ebola outbreak presently but every day is a good day to study Ebola.