The fight against communicable diseases and the search for a reliable way to protect the population against them are among the most crucial issues in contemporary health care. Frequent contacts with the diseased people, low immunity status, and body’s resistance to infectious diseases as a consequence of poor nutrition and physical inactivity, and ineffective prevention of infection are the causes of high morbidity in such diseases. Healthy People 2020 suggests a number of measures aimed at improving the wellbeing of the American population and the means of disease prevention (Healthy People, 2014). In order to follow the objectives of this program regarding communicable diseases, carefully planned interventions to combat morbidity are essential.
Population-Based Communicable Illnesses
Hialeah, Miami-Dade County (Florida, 33010) is a region with the population close to 46 thousand people and density more than ten people per square mile. The quantity of young adults and seniors in this area is larger than average. It implies that the population of Hialeah runs a higher risk of catching a communicable disease. In addition, the senior population has lower immune status and is more susceptible to catching and spreading a disease, which increases the possibilities of communicable illnesses in this area. Thus, it is essential to consider this factor in the plan of action. According to the epidemiological and surveillance data, Typhus, Tularemia, and Pertussis are among the illnesses that can often be diagnosed in the residents. There were 12 cases of Typhus, 1 case of Tularemia, and 33 cases of Pertussis diagnosed during the past few years in this region (Florida morbidity statistics report, 2013).
Typhus is an acute infectious disease caused by bacteria of the genus Salmonella. The pathogen can refrain from the soil and water for up to five months. The only sources of infection are a sick person and bacilli carriers. Typhus is transferred directly from dirty hands, flies, and sewage. The incubation period of the disease is up to several weeks. In typical cases, the disease begins slowly, and patients notice weakness, fatigue, mild headache with a simple reduction in immunity and do not resort to examination and treatment, which results in complications (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2014). Timely detection of the main symptoms in recognition of the disease is crucial. The indicators of the illness can be a high temperature of the body for longer than a week, headache, weakness (decreased motor activity, lack of energy, sleep disturbances, poor appetite, sensitivity to palpation in the right iliac abdomen, enlarged liver, and spleen). The bacteriological (immunofluorescence), blood cultures or bile broth, and serological studies are among laboratory tests than can effectively confirm the diagnosis. Medical supervision of food businesses, water supply, sanitation, and early identification of patients and their insulation is required for the effective prevention of this disease. Also, the specific vaccination significantly helps to reduce the number of Typhus cases.
Tularemia is a zoonotic infection, having natural foci (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2014). It is characterized by intoxication, fever, and lymph node. Hares, rabbits, water rats, voles are the carriers of the illness. In natural foci, epizootic may arise periodically. The infection is transmitted to humans either directly through contact with animals or through contaminated food and water or sometimes by aspiration. The incubation period ranges from a couple of hours to 3-7 days. There are forms of tularemia with a primary lesion of the internal organs. The generalized form flows by type of general infections with severe toxicity, loss of consciousness, delirium, and severe headache and muscle pains. The possible complications can be specific (for instance, peritonitis, pericarditis, meningoencephalitis); the possibility of gangrene also exists due to secondary bacterial flora. The disease poses a great danger to the population and, given the demographics of the described area, requires mandatory preventive measures. The elimination of natural foci is necessary to prevent cases of this illness (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2014). In addition, protecting homes and open water, as well as securing foods from rodents, is essential. Needless to say that conducting mass routine vaccination will help to eliminate the cases of this disease.
Pertussis is a disease with acute respiratory tract lesions and attacks of spasmodic cough. The causative agent is Bordet-Zhang wand (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2014). The sources of infection are a sick person and bacilli carriers. The patients at the initial stage (catarrhal period of illness) are highly contagious. The transmission of the infection is carried out by airborne droplets. The incubation period lasts from 2 to 14 days. The identification of the illness is possible only in the analysis of clinical and laboratory data, which complicates the situation. The active immunization is required to prevent the occurrence of the disease. The contact children under the age of one year can receive the normal human immunoglobulin (PrabhuDas et al., 2011).
Plan of Action
According to the Healthy People 2020 and its initiatives, targeted public awareness of the benefits of vaccination as the most effective and safe way to combat infectious diseases and their consequences is crucial (Healthy People, 2014). In addition, it is necessary to discuss with parents that each child needs to be protected from the infectious diseases (PrabhuDas et al., 2011). The plan of action includes measures of informing the population about the consequences of poor immunization coverage, bringing the vaccination to difficult sections of the population, and methods of trust formation to vaccination and its safety. It is also important to raise awareness among the most vulnerable population groups.
As part of the immunization plan, workshops and training hours will be conducted to inform the people about the measures that are available for them to boost their immune status. The use of vaccines will reduce and, in some cases, eliminate certain diseases. Illnesses such as typhoid, tularemia, and pertussis do not provide lifelong immunity against re-infection or can transform into a chronic or persistent infection (PrabhuDas et al., 2011). In addition, people can further turn into bacteria carriers while vaccine prophylaxis (with boosters) provides long-term protection, thereby reducing re-infection, relapse, chronic illnesses, and carriage.
Further, the plan of action implies the three important aspects. Firstly, surveillance and response are necessary for investigating the emergence of diseases. Secondly, the applied research will enable determining the dominant factor in the cases of the disease and defining the ways to improve the preventive measures. Thirdly, improving the infrastructure and training of the nursing staff will allow furnishing the interventions that address the currents need of the population regarding the communicable diseases (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2014). Thus, the plan of action will consider the measures for improving the health of the residents and provide feedback to enhance the care provision.
The implementation of the Healthy People 2020 initiatives regarding such diseases as typhus, tularemia or pertussis will allow addressing the health needs of the population in the most effective way. It is necessary to raise awareness of the Hialeah residents about the causes and consequences of the communicable diseases as well as of the methods of their prevention to be able to reduce the number of the diseased. It is important to explicate that preventing a disease is faster and easier in terms of the health status rather than dealing with its consequences.
Florida morbidity statistics report. (2013). Web.
Healthy People. (2014). Immunization and infectious diseases. Web.
PrabhuDas, M., Adkins, B., Gans, H., King, C., Levy, O., Ramilo, O., & Siegrist, C. (2011). Challenges in infant immunity: Implications for responses to infection and vaccine. Nature Immunology, 12(3), 189-194.
Stanhope, M., & Lancaster, J. (2014). Public health nursing. New York, NY: Elsevier.