Experts fear deadly infections could become more common in the US
Killer diseases such a dengue fever and malaria spread by mosquitoes are the more well-known of the tropical diseases. But the experts fear that a recession that has already weakened the public health system will bring far more exotic diseases to a point, where we can face a life-threatening epidemic.
To most Americans, diseases with names like dengue fever, chikungunya, malaria, Chagas and leishmaniasis might sound like something out of a Victorian explorer’s tales of hacking through African jungles. Yet ongoing epidemics of these diseases are killing millions of people around the world. Now, disease experts are increasingly concerned these and other infections may become as familiar in the United States as West Nile or Lyme disease.
Few believe Americans face a killer epidemic from tropical diseases. But scientists who specialize in emerging infectious diseases say such illnesses may become more common here as the economic downturn batters an already weakened public health system, creating environmental conditions conducive to infectious diseases spread by insects or other animals. At the same time, such vector-borne diseases are capable of spreading around the world much more rapidly due to massive south-to-north immigration, rapid transportation, and global trade.
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Sunnyvale, California, United States