Mosquito bites are not only itchy and a nuisance, but they can spread diseases.
Dr. Kip Thompson studies public health and how diseases spread throughout communities. His most recent research on how diseases are spread through military operations is featured in the 2022 issue of Mind’s Eye.
The full story is available on the site now.
Here is an excerpt:
Service members who live in close quarters on base are at risk for rapid outbreaks of diseases like GI. To control them, quick detection of the cause is critical.
When Thompson was in Kuwait, his Preventive Medicine unit had polymerase chain reaction (PCR) capabilities. PCR enabled RNA or DNA sequencing to detect the pathogen of an outbreak within hours.
Using the system, he and his team were able to quickly identify a GI outbreak caused by norovirus.
“Because of that, we were also able to reduce the disease burden,” Thompson said. “The incidence of disease was down 10 fold compared to locations with the same outbreak but without the system we had.”
Congratulations, Dr. Thompson!
After a quiet influenza season in 2020-2021, the flu is starting to make a comeback.
According to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) visits for patients with influenza-like illness are nearly double compared to years past.
University hospitals like Michigan and Florida State are starting to see around 50-60 patients a day showing up for cases of the flu. Most of those patients are aged 18-25.
A good portion of those patients are being diagnosed with Influenza A (H3N2).
“Those numbers are alarming. The number of people ages 18-25 that are vaccinated are lower now than in recent history,” Thompson said.
There are two types of influenza: type A and type B.
“Type B is the normal human flu that we see every year,” Thompson said. “Type A, which is currently being spread at a high rate, is known to mutate more and cause more infections.”
Both are treated in the same manner, but Type A can become more severe.
This year’s flu vaccine is a quadrivalent. This means the vaccine provides protection against two A strains and two B strains.
Like many viruses, there are ways to stop the spread of infection.
Common ways to prevent the flu include:
Getting vaccinated is one of the best ways to help stop the spread.
Missouri State students, faculty, and staff (and their dependents) can get their free flu vaccine at Magers Health and Wellness Center.