Outbreaks of viral disease are a continuing threat in the United States as well as abroad. The Centers for Disease control and other international agencies devote considerable resources to surveillance and detection programs as well as advancement of communicable disease prevention and mitigation measures. Preventing outbreaks is the ultimate goal, but establishing protocols that ensure preparedness in the event of an outbreak is also important. For this discussion you have an opportunity to characterize key features of a virus with epidemic or even pandemic potential and chose one disease you feel would be best suited for significant research and pre-emptive efforts.
Before beginning this discussion, please view the documentary the “Age of Viruses”:
The Age of Viruses (Links to an external site.) (Video, 50:39 mins)
This video introduces you to some of the major challenges facing scientists and medical professionals as they try to combat emerging, highly infectious, and resistant viral diseases.
When you watch the video, make note of where many of these diseases emerge and how they emerge. Many emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic diseases and tracking down viral origins and reservoirs can be challenging. This video illustrates both the tremendous strides we have made in our understanding of viruses and how fragile humankind remains in the face of infectious agents. Keep the following questions on hand as you view the video.
- What are the attributes of a particularly dangerous emerging infectious disease?
- What features of modern society influence dissemination of viral diseases of this nature?
- If you were in charge of distributing one-hundred million dollars in research funds but could only chose one viral disease to provide for, which disease would you endow and why?
- How do you think the medical and scientific community should use your millions?