About HIV/AIDS – “Scope
HIV/AIDS represent the single greatest humanitarian
crisis in modern history. Since the beginning of the epidemic nearly
20 million people have died from the disease. By the end of 2003 over
40 million people were living with HIV/AIDS around the world, including
5 million people who acquired HIV that year. Current projections indicate
that an additional 45 million people will become infected by 2010, and
an additional 68 million deaths can be expected by the year 2020.
The number of people who have succumbed to this disease
since the beginning of the epidemic, combined with those currently living
with HIV/AIDS, exceeds the total number killed in World War II. Without
immediate action, over the next few decades the number of people affected
will likely exceed the total number killed in all the major conflicts
of the 20th century combined.
Sub-Saharan Africa remains by far the region worst affected
by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. HIV/AIDS is the number one cause of death
in Sub Saharan Africa, and world wide for those 15-59 years old. Africa
is home to nearly 70% of all adults and 80% of all children living with
HIV/AIDS. Unless the world succeeds in drastically expanding global
prevention efforts, an additional 55 million deaths can be expected
in Sub Saharan Africa by the year 2020.
Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis and is estimated to result in 2.6 million deaths worldwide annually and 3.8 million notified cases. The initial infection is usually silent and may result in no further symptoms. Some cases progress to pulmonary TB and disseminated disease with meningeal or other extrapulmonary involvement. Although commonest in adults, the disease is usually more serious in infants, children and adolescents. Reasonable control of the disease was achieved until the 1980s in many countries through improved living standards (so that children were no longer sleeping in close proximity to parents with open pulmonary disease) coupled with antituberculous medication. With the deterioration of public health services in some countries, and with the advent of HIV infection, the numbers of cases escalated and new strategies were investigated. Directly observed treatment, short-course (DOTS) is the keystone of WHO's TB control strategies. More.www.who.org
Measles, in spite of available vaccination, remains a heavy public health burden worldwide.especially in developing countries like Africa with a 30-40 million cases, 26 million Daly's (WHO, 2002) and 745, 000 death for the year 2001. This represents 50-60% of the estimated million deaths attributable to "vaccine-preventable" diseases of childhood. Measles may be ultimately responsible for more child deaths that any other single agent because of complications from pneumonia, diarrhea, and malnutrition. Measles is also a major cause of preventable blindness in the world, affecting the most disadvantage populations like in Africa. More.www.who.org
Yellow fever is endemic in 33 countries in Africa and 11 countries in South America. There are two modes of transmission of the yellow fever virus, the sylvatic or forest cycle and the urban cycle. Transmission begins when vector mosquitos (Aedes africanus in Africa, and several species of the genus Haemagogus in South America) feed on non-human primates infected with the virus. The infected mosquitos then feed on humans travelling through the forest. The greatest risk of an epidemic occurs when viraemic humans return to urban areas and are fed on by the domestic vector mosquito Aedes aegypti, which then transmits the virus to other humans.
A severe epidemic is most likely to occur if conditions allow the density of vector populations to increase substantially, as can happen in a rainy season. Good epidemiological surveillance can be critical in preventing an epidemic.
Yellow fever continues to be a public health concern in many countries of Africa and the Americas. It is estimated that 200 000 cases and 30 000 deaths are attributable to yellow fever annually, most of them occurring in sub-Saharan Africa, although far fewer cases than this are reported. More.www.who.org
Influenza virus types A and B are both common causes of acute respiratory illnesses. Although both virus types may cause epidemics of considerable morbidity and mortality, influenza B infections are often limited to localized outbreaks; whereas influenza A viruses are the principal cause of larger epidemics including worldwide pandemics. In temperate regions, influenza occurs in winter epidemics that affect 1%-5% of the population. In tropical regions, influenza can be contracted throughout the year and its contribution to overall morbidity and mortality is less well defined.
Rates of infection are highest in children, but severe morbidity and mortality from the disease are more common among the elderly and in specific high-risk groups. In many developing countries, knowledge concerning the local epidemiology of influenza is fragmentary or non-existent. The total economic impact of an influenza epidemic is considerable, and in industrialized countries total estimated costs (direct and indirect) may reach approximately US$ 10-60 million per million population. More.www.who.org
For additional information about "Vaccine-preventable" diseases, please visit the World Health Organization's website: http://www.who.int/vaccines/en/vaccprevdis.shtml
US Doctors For Africa relies on the following sources
for the most up to date and accurate information on HIV/AIDS and other