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Preventing Guinea Worm Disease

Parasites are living things that use other living things for food and a place to live and range from one-celled organisms (protozoa) to worms (MedlinePlus, 2021). Some parasites can be transmitted through contaminated food or water or a bug bite. Guinea worm disease (GWD) is caused by the parasite Dracunculus medinensis and usually affects poor communities in remote parts of Africa without access to safe drinking water (CDC, 2020). GWD is spread when a person drinks unfiltered water that contains the Guinea worm larvae (immature worms) and from eating aquatic animals that carry the larvae. Transmission season for GWD varies depending on the geographical location in Africa. Drier areas have higher transmission rates during the rainy season when there in stagnant water accumulating on the surface of the ground. For those that live in wet areas, transmission is higher during the dry season when the surface water has evaporated, and the remaining water has become stagnant. GWD is considered to be a Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD). According to Battle, NTDs are poverty-promoting disease that occur primarily in underdeveloped, tropical areas of the world. Prevention methods include, drinking water from protected sources free of contamination, filter drinking water using a Guinea worm cloth or pipe filter, cook aquatic animals thoroughly before ingesting and preventing people with blisters or visible worms from entering bodies of water.

 Public health organizations have responded to the GWD problem by launching the Guinea worm Eradication Program in 1980 (CDC, 2020). This initiative focuses on educating the population on GWD and the means of prevention. As there are no drugs to treat GWD or vaccines to prevent it, it is imperative that people follow the guidelines given to them by public heath professionals.  

 Preventing Measles

Measles is a highly contagious virus that lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person and can be spread to others through coughing and sneezing (CDC, 2020). Vaccination is the best way to protest against measles and is usually given in two doses to children between 12 months and 6 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in the United States, most cases of measles are caused by unvaccinated travelers who get infected overseas and bring it back to the U.S. There are people who do not trust pharmaceutical companies and public health officials, so they do not vaccinate their children and the anti-vaccine movement is gaining traction. In fact, he World Health Organization (WHO) named vaccine hesitancy as one of the ten greatest health threats of 2019.

 According to Benecke and DeYoung, effectively countering the anti-vaccine movement should be addressed through understanding mechanisms for increasing trust between the medical community and parents. Educating parents on the benefits of vaccinating their children by explaining the benefits of vaccination is one way public health professionals are addressing this issue. The developing of public policy that closes vaccine loopholes is critical to reduce vaccine hesitation.

 Preventing MRSA

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a cause of staph infection that is difficult to treat because of resistance to some antibiotics (CDC, 2019). MRSA can be spread by contact with infected people of things that carry the bacteria like sharing personal items or touching a contaminated wound. People in healthcare facilities are more likely to develop MRSA as patients often have weakened immune systems and devices like catheters inserted into their bodies. A major challenge of preventing MRSA includes the fact that it does not respond to antibiotics allowing the infection to spread quickly. Antibiotic resistance can occur when a person uses too many antibiotics in a relatively short period of time. Keeping hands clean is one way that MRSA can be prevented, and public health professionals practice this daily. At my workplace if a patient has MRSA we are advised to use soap and water immediately after removing our personal protective equipment (PPE), leaving the PPE in the infected patient’s room. Encouraging people to practice good hygiene by keeping their skin clean and cover scrapes and wounds is another way public health professionals are educating people on preventing the spread of MRSA.

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