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Fighting Disease:
Health At The End Of The Millennium
Another Wired Curriculum from The United Nations CyberSchoolBus

1 Introduction
2 How They Work
3 How They Spread
4 Poverty and Disease
5 Prevention
6 Immunization

Chickenpox virus image Unit 1
Infectious Diseases: A Concern for All

(GRADES 7-11)

Over 5.7 billion people are alive on earth today. Up to half of this population is at risk of many endemic diseases - diseases that regularly affect people. Some of these diseases may not be deadly or even debilitating. Unfortunately, there are many others that are.

Chances are most of us, at some point in our lives, have caught a 'cold' or the 'flu'. Fever, body aches and a sore throat are some of the symptoms. The 'cold', caused by the Adenovirus, and the 'flu', caused by the Influenza virus, are present in most regions of the world (although it is common to use 'cold' and 'flu' interchangeably, a 'cold' is not caused by Influenza). But for the most part, these are not deadly viruses. With lots of rest, healthy people beat the 'flu' and recover quickly.

Not all infections are as easily overcome. Tuberculosis or HIV/AIDS, for example, can be deadly. In fact, infectious diseases are the leading cause of death in the world. Of 52 million deaths in 1995, some 17 million came as a result of infectious diseases.

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