This outbreak has now been identified in the state of Texas, and has spread to the San Antonio and other states in the southeastern United States. While the exact size of the disease is still unknown, it is expected to soon affect those who live in some of the state’s most populous states, including Texas and Arkansas (as well as to a lesser degree, Louisiana and Mississippi) (where an outbreak of T1A has also been confirmed). The outbreak has been reported to have included an outbreak across Texas’ western border… as well as to have entered into the state of Louisiana. This situation will likely become aggravated as the situation continues to emerge. The number of cases of the disease is estimated to be the same as the average monthly count of infected humans through 2008, but it is expected to cause some serious health issues. These include the following:
Unreported cases in areas where there are no health care providers capable of properly diagnosing the condition.
More people who think they have been infected than do have been. To understand the issues of transmission, we must understand the two broad categories of swine fever. They are Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles versicolor and the two are closely related in nature.
Anopheles gambiae is anaerobicbacteria that causes the disease by producingvirionsin order to infect animals. A virus will take on new forms when being exchanged between organisms, in this case, the cells of an animal. The virus then becomes infectious. Animals then infect others, the “graft” being then transmitted to people via direct contact.
The second type of A. gambiae is anaerobic, meaning that it causes infection by the air. When these viruses infect the human body they use the human body, as a fuel, to replicate. In this case, the virus is the infection, not the victim or organ. In the early stages of illness the human body is not capable of producing immune system cells capable of killing the virus. Thus, these swine fever viruses are able to multiply and survive, before they are susceptible to a blood draw (blood testing). Thus, infected animals are the source of the virus being passed on to humans. This is where it causes some of the health problems that the country is experiencing. This virus can enter directly from another animal (which may also be contaminated by the infected animals) or it can be transmitted through contaminated food, water or air by the infected animals. This is all important because it could theoretically infect any human at any given moment and cause the dreaded “human acquired swine fever”.
Once you understand how these viruses are transmitted, this disease poses a significant challenge for those who do not have specialized immunologists, the medical profession in general, and the United States government. I was asked recently “What is a good plan to handle this epidemic?” Some of these answers are given below, and others are provided for your consideration. I have personally observed this spread of the disease in several areas of this country, and I personally know that these diseases are indeed a problem.
First,The Public Health System on a Major Incident Basis. Public Health professionals at all levels have an obligation to immediately respond to a human exposure to a swine fever disease. What do I mean by “at all levels”? In the public health community, we have all the various levels of responsibility and control over our communities and our citizens. In order to help keep people safe, we must be aware and able to act quickly if human exposure to a pathogen is detected. It is our responsibility in this scenario to develop a plan within a minimum of 24 hours that will ensure that the health of our residents is maintained at risk. This plan should be prepared, documented and delivered to all levels of government, in conjunction with a plan that will prepare the public in the event of an outbreak to protect them. This plan should also include an implementation plan to provide food hygiene training and guidelines to minimize the spread of this disease. Additionally, we should prepare for an emergency, and plan for a “mass casualty” event for all community organizations to manage.
These are some of the health services that should be available to all citizens in a mass casualty event. To protect the health of our citizens, we must first provide them with tools to be able to manage the consequences of exposure. The Public Health System and public officials at all levels have an obligation to act quickly in all of these scenarios. And since no one has been killed by a major outbreak of this illness, no public health officials need to believe the situation is serious enough to require quarantine and mandatory exposure guidelines.
If someone does develop symptoms of the disease