Never a dull moment, is there?
The plague is back. No, not Ebola, but rather infection with the dreaded bacterium, Yersinia pestis. An outbreak in Madagascar, where the disease is endemic, already has involved more than 100 people and killed almost half. The plague made a brief appearance in China earlier this year and continues in the U.S. with a few cases annually.
The current Madagascar outbreak is of particular concern for two reasons. First, cases have arrived in the capital, Antananarivo, a city of more than 2 million located in the center of the island. As was demonstrated with Ebola, once any infection enters a city, the opportunity for spread is greatly heightened, owing to the dense concentration of people, the paucity of clean air and water, and likelihood that vermin are nearby.
The second concern about the current Madagascar outbreak is that cases of pneumonic plague, a highly contagious and lethal form, have been seen.
You hadn’t noticed? Me neither. And maybe that’s because there are other more important ‘epidemics’ grabbing the headlines these days. Like:
Obesity Epidemic Costs World $2 Trillion a Year, Study Says
Obesity isn’t just causing a global health crisis. It is also exacting a high economic toll.
The global obesity epidemic is costing the world economy $2 trillion a year in health-care costs, investments to mitigate its impact and lost productivity, according to a new study published Wednesday by the McKinsey Global Institute.
The economic research arm of consulting firm McKinsey notes that figure is roughly equivalent to the gross domestic product of countries such as Italy and Russia.
In a ranking of human-generated economic burdens, MGI places obesity in the No. 3 spot, just behind smoking and armed conflict, both of which have an annual global cost of $2.1 trillion.
About 2.1 billion people, or nearly one-third of the global population, were overweight or obese in 2013, according to a study published earlier this year in medical journal The Lancet. That was up sharply from 857 million in 1980.
“Despite warnings for years that obesity causes a whole host of health problems, including heart disease, stroke and cancer, the public is paying no attention.”
A pill that helps people stop drinking by reducing the urge for alcohol will become available in England and Wales today to those who drink at least half a bottle of wine or three pints every day.
Pretty soon the health service will be entirely devoted to treating ‘epidemics’ of eating, drinking, and smoking (if it isn’t already), while Ebola and Bubonic Plague decimate entire populations.