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Environmental Science
Jovan Stefanovic

Lecture 7: Biological Hazards and Human Health Biological Hazards _ Non-transmissible diseases (cardiovascular (heart attack), cancer, diabetes, asthma (closely related with allergens)) _ Transmissible diseases (infectious agent, bacteria, viruses, protozoa) _ Growing germ resistance to antibiotics _ High reproductive rate allow them to become genetically resistant quickly _ Overuse of antibiotics (when not recommended by the doctor) _ Antibiotics in food additives to boost livestock (prevent diseases in animals would save them money but the quality of the food goes bad) Bacteria Tuberculosis Anthrax Brucellosis Different forms of Plague Viruses HIV (AIDS) SARS Bird flu (now in Europe but also in North America) Smallpox West Nile virus BACTERIAL diseases Tuberculosis: significant threat to the world. Old disease: some mummies from Egypt from the pyramids are found to have some symptoms i.e. they die coz of the disease. Later in was a huge problem in the 18-19 century: transfer among family members. People used to marry after checking if there was a past history of TB in the family. Disease was related with vampires. This disease it not transferred by genes. Sick people had pale faces, coughed blood and dark eyes. _ In 2004, mortality statistics included _ 14.6 million chronic active TB cases (chronic: not ill right away –latent disease) _ 8.9 million new cases, _ 1.6 million deaths, mostly in developing countries (wet walls, improper sanitation, improper housing and they catch the disease faster as it is related to social and health system) _ Differences in health care systems _ Transmission - cough, sneeze, speak, kiss, or spit of ill person _ Most commonly attacks the lungs www.notesolution.com _ Symptoms include chest pain, coughing up blood, and a productive, prolonged cough for more than three weeks, fever, chills, night sweats, appetite loss, weight loss, paleness and often a tendency to fatigue very easily Tuberculosis- a growing threat but it is sensitive to UV rays and O2. The only way it can be prevented is old clothes/old stuff related to the TB victim and exposed to the sun. Anthrax _ Bacillus anthracis (large gram-positive, spore-forming bacteria found mainly in the soil): can be used as a biological weapon. _ Produce toxin –really poisonous _ Three major clinical forms: Cutaneous – on the skin Inhalation Gastrointestinal (via food and drinks) _ All three may lead to septicemia (bacteria’s in such a huge number that will lead to very serious condition) and death _ No smell or taste; Too small to be seen by naked eye _ Cannot be transmitted from person to person Cutaneous Anthrax _ The most common naturally occurring type (> 95%) _ After skin contact with contaminated meat, wool, or leather from infected animals _ The incubation period (period when there is no symptoms) ranges from 1-12 Days _ Begins as a small raised bump (like spider bite), progresses into vesicle and then a painless ulcer _ Fever, headache, lymph glands swell _ 20 % of untreated cases result in death Successfully treated with Antibiotics. Inhalation Anthrax _ The most lethal form _ Inhalation of spores of anthrax _ Incubation period 1-60 days _ Starts as viral respiratory illness: sore throat, mild fever, muscle aches _ May progress to respiratory failure and shock with developing meningitis (encephalitis) _ 75 % of cases result in death even with all possible supportive care Gastrointestinal Anthrax _ Consumption of raw or undercooked contaminated meat _ Incubational period 1-7 days _ Nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, and fever, followed by abdominal pain, vomiting blood and bloody diarrhea. _ 25- 60 % of cases result in death effect of early treatment is not defined www.notesolution.com Bioterrorism Related Anthrax _ Mixed with powder to transport them _ Suspicious mail -> excessive postage, handwritten and poorly written and misspelled letters, excessive weight, and powdry feel. _ What should people do who get a letter with powder? Don’t shake and don’t empty it. Don’t carry it and alert others. Dispose it and take action. _ Environmental testing: air and surrounding. _ Diagnosis: preliminary diagnosis (fast but doesn’t confirm anthrax right away) and long term one which will confirm it after a while. _ Cure (antibiotics and vaccine) Brucellosis _ Primarily passed among animals _ Humans become infected by coming in contact with animals and animal products _ Eating or drinking and breathing _ Through skin wounds _ Symptoms similar to the flu: fever, sweats, headaches, back pains, physical weakness _ Sever infections
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