Few, If Any, Treatments Exist For Many Contagious Diseases

Newsday reported: “An experimental medication with no discernible track record was administered last week to two Americans who were whisked home from the epicenter of the West African Ebola outbreak.”

“The drug, developed through a technologically advanced technique, was identified only in January as a potential treatment for the viral infection now sweeping through four African nations.”

“In the absence of clinical data, no one knows with certainty how well the cloned medication works. There is nothing else in medicine’s arsenal to combat Ebola, a problem that applies not only to that disease but an ever-growing list of emergent infections. Few, if any, treatments exist for contagious conditions smoldering in global hot zones:

  • Exotic forms of flu in China and Southeast Asia.
  • A respiratory illness with high mortality in the Middle East.
  • Lassa fever, a West African hemorrhagic viral infection.
  • Chikungunya fever virus, once relegated to East Africa, but now an epidemic in the Caribbean and recently established in Florida.
  • Old diseases in new places: dengue fever and West Nile.

No vaccines or medications exist to treat any of them.”

“The perfect storm occurred recently in Florida when the tropical chikungunya virus found its way into mosquitoes.”

“A Florida man last month, according to the CDC, tested positive for chikungunya fever. This highly debilitating illness, which causes a relapsing arthritic-like joint pain, has swept through the Caribbean and parts of South America since late last year.”

“Doctors at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset also have diagnosed the infection in Long Islanders who have returned from travel abroad.”

Click here to read the full Newsday article “Few, if Any, Treatments Exist for Many Contagious Diseases” by Delthia Ricks.


Doctor, Did You Wash Your Hands? ™ provides information to consumers on understanding, managing and navigating health care options.

Jonathan M. Metsch, Dr.P.H., is Clinical Professor, Preventive Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; and Adjunct Professor, Baruch College ( C.U.N.Y.), Rutgers School of Public Health, and Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration.

This blog shares general information about understanding and navigating the health care system. For specific medical advice about your own problems, issues and options talk to your personal physician.

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