GGRB28H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Polio Vaccine, Global Health, Air Conditioning

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10 Dec 2010

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GGRB28 – Lecture 2
Globalization and Health: Are we entering a new era of disease?
To explore the question above:
In the era of globalization are more intensified connections between people and new
ways of interacting with the environment leading to ‘newly emerging diseases’?
What do we mean by globalization?
Greater connections between people and places
Turn towards the market (trade/exchange, commodities etc)
Rising inequalities – some countries have done extremely well, while other countries have
done badly and some become poorer
Globalization is a significant break from decades of progress
This rests on an idea that this integrated era is somehow bad for global health—leading to
new and emerging diseases against the backdrop of many years of progress
1940s: antibiotics begin to be widely used
1950s: Polio vaccine manufactured
1977: Massive WHO campaign leads to smallpox eradication and in the West especially,
better nutrition and housing, safer food and water, and improved hygiene
There was polio in 1988 and in 2006 polio had been, virtually, eradicated
If you had polio, you had a really weak body and weak nervous system—ultimately, you
could not breathe properly and would have to live in an iron lung
This optimistic narrative that diseases were being cured and wiped out was very common
until recently
Cohen Article 2000*
Top pie chart shows TB, Pneumonia and diarrhea were the top 3 diseases in the US with an
average life expectancy of 47
Bottom pie chart shows Heart disease, Cancer, and Strokes were the top 3 disease in the
US in 1997
Infectious diseases are still very prevalent in the third world, whereas the West (to a large
degree) has overcome many of these infection diseases and is now struggling with lifestyle
Newly emerging diseases
West Nile Virus (E. Coast of North America, 1999, brain) – first appeared in 1930s in the
West Nile regions of Uganda and mostly found (now) in the East Coast of North American
Ebola (Zaire, 1976, bleeding)
Lyme disease (bacteria, US in the 1970s) – spread by ticks, symptoms are rashes, fly,
tiredness. One reason for it is towns extending out into rural areas; putting humans in
contact with ticks
HIV (virus, US early 1980s) – prevalent in both the US and Canada (yet to a lesser degree
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