Why we still don't totally understand how diseases spread


7 Responses to “Why we still don't totally understand how diseases spread”

  1. Kevin Leahy says:

    Just curious…are most so-called “super-spreaders” usually themselves immune to a given virus, or will they inevitably deterioriate into zombieness or whatever such plague is around as quickly as others? I ask because I’ve worked in many a lab situation with sketchy biotics and ferment a lot of food at home. It seems that  a lot of people get sick around me at work and whatnot, but I never do. Any statistics on that?

  2. Erik Sayle says:

    Here is a part of the solution. I have friends who think that its great to keep going to parties when they are sick. They hug 30 friends at a party, share drinks, who knows what else when they have a cold. They just feel that a cold is an inconvenience and they should still go out. Sometimes they say stuff like “I really should be at home since I am sick but I just could not miss soandsos birthday!” Please kiss her and give her a bigger birthday present.

    I personally rarely go out when I am sick as I am very sensitive to infecting others. 

    These friends that I have that do this rarely even understand that they are superspreaders. They are just living life. Oblivious. I persoanlly give people a hard time and try to educate others about this.

    • niktemadur says:

      The workplace is another one, an employee has the flu but is not granted sick leave, so what the business gets in those days is a miserable and groggy employee who spreads the virus around, as well as making a lot of mistakes that cost double in time and effort to detect and correct.  This is the rule and not the exception.

      That goes quadruple for workers in the food and services industry.  One example, there’s a popular fish taco stand in my town, I was suspiciously watching the girl in charge of the toppings, she had red eyes and a runny nose.  Suddenly, she sneezed right on the chopped cucumbers and pickled onions.

      How many people did she infect during her bout with the flu? I never did go back to that stand, but I’m sure this sort of thing happens with most food vendors, as duty seems to be more important than being a freaking public health hazard.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        I worked in a hospital and they used to give people shit about using their sick leave. It was messed up.

        • niktemadur says:

          You’re absolutely right, the health industry is the absolute worst place for this to happen, and now that you bring it up, few things have alarmed me more than a shift of coughing nurses, while my wife was suffering a severe bout of asthma.

          How many times have we heard of “complications” arising after surgery?  I’d be willing to bet that most of the time it’s pneumonia caught right there in the hospital.  Which may take your life, or at the very least extend an already horribly expensive hospital stay.

          It’s quite clear when framed in a certain way:  Where are the diseases concentrated?  In the hospital, of course.

  3. It’s fair to say that we don’t totally understand anything. Bertrand Russell suggested that the feeling of certainty was a bad position to occupy philosophically. And even when you do understand something fairly well, they have a devilish way of changing, diseases especially.

  4. Sinabhfuil says:

    “the simple story of one woman who infected thousands”… ahem, that would be one woman who infected 51 people. 
    “Typhoid Mary”, Mary Malone, was the victim of anti-immigrant (she was Irish) craziness – there were others who infected far more people. She ended her life in solitary confinement because she became a symbol of the dangers of immigrants.

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