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Disease Outbreaks: Toxicity of Fatty Acid Profiles

In the recent past, there has been a rise in the number of new infections. Even as the globe moves towards achieving global quality healthcare, these illnesses impede on the scientific advancements made towards this goal’s attainment. Worse still, these outbreaks vary in nature and finding cures is the only solution to these abnormal occurrences. Therefore, this paper addresses the possible reasons for these sudden outbreaks, proposes ways for addressing them, and looks at countries that have encountered such pandemics.

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Possible Reasons for Sudden Outbreaks

The primary cause of a sudden outbreak of a new disease is the increased positive contact between individuals. Historically, humans resided in small bands that were disparate and isolated from each other. However, with increased trade, travel, and connectivity, there has been increased contact between humans from different places (Cheng et al., 2005). If an individual is infected, they can easily transfer the infection from one corner of the world to another leading to outbreaks. This contact is also promoted by increased urbanization as most people move to towns leading to congestion and an increased likelihood of disease emergence and spread. Such contact should be limited, including exposure to chemicals and other animals, as it is the primary way diseases spread.

Additionally, climate change could be a possible reason for a sudden outbreak. Certain outbreaks are dependent entirely on the climate-related to a given region. Certain conditions also intensify the spread of such infections as they accommodate the disease vectors (McLean, 2007). For instance, outbreaks of diseases associated with mosquitoes are predominant in warm areas because they thrive in such environments. With global warming an increasing cause for concern, this new pattern in climatic conditions is one of the underlying accelerators of sudden new disease outbreaks.

Addressing New Virulent Contagious Diseases

In addressing such illnesses, the first thing to do is establish the source and cause of the infection. This extends to the determination of how such a disease is spread. When such information is obtained, researchers and scientists can identify ways of breaking the transmission cycle and coming up with transmission methods (Cheng et al., 2005). For instance, COVID-19 was identified to spread mainly through contact, and that is why the use of masks and social distancing was recommended. Additionally, this information is essential in coming up with antivirals and vaccines for the given infection. This ensures that the spread of the infection is reduced, ensuring a better and fast approach to cure identification.

Additionally, these infections are addressed through the creation and communication of policies around dealing with them. More often than not, the spread is accelerated due to ignorance and lack of awareness which a proper communication of well-organized regulations deals with effectively (McLean, 2007). This extends to educating both the infected and the uninfected to know how to stay safe and protect those around them. The regulations may include lockdowns for areas that have high infection rates and quarantines for individuals with the infection. These measures contain the spread of the diseases, ensuring that it remains localized in specific areas to make eradication easy.

Epidemic Cases

Recently, there has been an increase in the number of West African Countries reporting yellow fever. A case in point is Nigeria, where cases were dominant in Enugu and Delta States (Nwachukwu et al., 2020). However, the outbreak extended to Ebonyi, Bauchi, and Benue states, with the epidemic already having claimed hundreds of lives with the infection prevalent in males and farmers. The spread has been spiraled by the vast informal settlements and overcrowding in the country (Nwachukwu et al., 2020). The settlements are especially faced by poor transportation, inadequate water supply, low-grade housing, and poor waste and sanitation management. These unhygienic conditions form the proper conditions for breeding the mosquito Aedes Aegypti which causes urban yellow fever (Nwachukwu et al., 2020). This is a good example of the role hygiene has in the spread of certain infections.

Another case is the toxic oil syndrome experienced in northwestern and central Spain in 1981. The epidemic claimed over 300 lives, with about 20,000 cases recorded in its first year (Hanstein et al., 2020). Individuals with the infection primarily presented pleural effusions, cough, dyspnea, fever, pulmonary infiltrates, and hypoxemia symptoms which were usually acute. During this phase, about 50% of the infected recovered while the rest developed a chronic phase (Hanstein et al., 2020). This was characterized by peripheral nerve damage, joint contractures, severe myalgia, alopecia, sicca syndrome, and eosinophilia. The infection is believed to have been caused by the ingestion of rapeseed oil mixtures denatured with aniline (Hanstein et al., 2020). However, its precise etiologic agent has never been identified. This is why, to date, there is no particular treatment available.

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With the world continually evolving, there are more advanced technologies and medications to handle the increased number of diseases. However, sudden outbreaks of new diseases decrease the effectiveness of these available mechanisms and similarly increase the possibility of epidemics and even pandemics occurring. This is why it is essential to prioritize the handling of these conditions to find cures promptly. Therefore, governments and the global community need to be on the outlook and invest heavily in identifying emerging diseases for proper address.


Cheng, F., Ng, P., Chiu, W., Chu, W., Li, A., Lo, K., Hon, E., Nelson, E., Leung, T., Ng, W., Wong, E., Ip, P., & Fok, T. (2005). A case-control study of SARS versus community acquired pneumonia. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 90(7), 747-749.

Hanstein, A., Lenzen, S., & Plötz, T. (2020). Toxicity of fatty acid profiles of popular edible oils in human EndoC-βH1 beta-cells. Nutrition & Diabetes, 10(1), 16-23. 

McLean, A. (2007). SARS: A case study in emerging infections. Oxford University Press.

Nwachukwu, W., Yusuff, H., Nwangwu, U., Okon, A., Ogunniyi, A., & Imuetinyan-Clement, J. et al. (2020). The response to re-emergence of yellow fever in Nigeria, 2017. International Journal of Infectious Diseases, 92, 189-196.

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