I recently read a news report about a teenager in Oregon who was recently diagnosed with the Bubonic plague. This story seemed as a shock to me since I fully believed that this disease was extinct, but it seems like it has managed to hang around, we have just found advanced ways of treating it. The Bubonic plague is a disease that is commonly heard of in history class, it was known in Europe as the Black Death due to the effects it has on the human body. Back when the Bubonic plague was at the height of its devastation, it killed one third of the known population of earth. In the 14th century this plague was a certain death sentence and there was nothing anybody could do to save themselves or the ones they loved. Today, we know that the bubonic plague is spread by fleas and rodents, and we have drastically improved in our cleanliness since the Middle Ages, we also have antibiotics that can fight the effects of the plague, leaving it little chance to cause the damage it once did. It is astounding to think of how far we have come in terms of medical and hygienic technology, hopefully we will be able to look at all disease as ghosts of the past one day. Only 23 people have contracted the bubonic plague in the United States from the year 2010 to 2014, so it seems like this disease is well contained. This girl’s case is rare and unfortunate, but at least she has a cool story to tell her friends when she recovers.
Over the past couple of weeks, there has been an extreme outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the Bronx. So far this is the most devastating Legionnaires outbreak in New York’s history as 92 people have been hospitalized, and sadly, 10 individuals have died. The disease is caused by a bacteria that is usually found in the water of cooling systems, and it has already been found in several south Bronx cooling towers. Legionnaires is a very alarming disease, especially in the South Bronx, since it tends to attack the very old or those who are already sick. This disease is basically a more aggressive form of pneumonia, so those with asthma have to be especially cautious in areas of the outbreak. So far, due to this outbreak we have seen public health officials working franticly to try and contain the disease, but unfortunately, this disease can not be stopped by quarantine. The only way to stop the outbreak is to kill the bacteria at its source as it is not contagious from person to person. Health officials have started implementing free cooling tower checks and cleanings in the Bronx, and while I feel these measures are both warranted and reasonable, I feel more needs to be done to prevent another outbreak of this measure. Legionnaires is devastating, but with proper prevention I am certain that we could completely rid ourselves of this terrible disease. I hope to see health officials implement mandatory cooling tower cleanings every spring in order to reduce the risk of further cases of this disease, the best way to stop an outbreak is prevention. I’m sure that if proper preventative measures are put in place, we could stop the spread of this awful bacteria for years to come.