"Children's Environmental Health in the Twenty-First Century" is a great example of a paper on child development. With regards to some of the fundamental ways in which the world of 25 years from today will likely be altered and/or shaped, it is the belief of this student that the role that infectious disease has on the lives, politics, practice of medicine, and perhaps ancillary and tangential fields of transportation or business could be severe. For a period of the past several hundred years, humanity has enjoyed ever-increasing levels of sanitation, health, and an absence of any so-called “ superbugs” that at prior points in human history have culled vast swaths of the population. However, the length of time that humanity can continue to experience such a run of luck is most certainly drawing to a close. One need look no further than SARS, the flu of 1918, West Nile Virus, or a litany of other diseases that have been what many biologists and pathologists alike have labeled “ near misses” . Compounding this concern is the fact that higher and higher populations of humans inhabit the earth; oftentimes, the living accommodations that these individuals have are devoid of running water and basic sanitation (Pronczuk 145). This factor along with the overcrowding that necessarily comes as a byproduct of a ballooning human population provides a fertile breeding ground for an array of diseases (Rheingans 32).
As is plainly known from the study of evolutionary biology, the means by which diseases morph, evolve, and adapt to changes in the environment and even drugs means that the tools that many health care professionals have to deal with a sudden shift in a formerly semi-harmless and/or common disease can be inadequate to treat the most recent manifestation that a more potent strain of the virus or bacteria can exhibit.
The guessing game that scientists play each and every year between which strain of the flu to turn into a vaccine which is used to inoculate millions around the world is but one evidence of the inability of biological sciences to correctly determine and treat the rapidly changing nature of one of the most common and well-understood viruses that are known to exist (Arno Mü llbacher 4). As such, if this is the case with something as common and well known as the flu, one can quickly assume that far worse examples of the general bankruptcy of modern medical technology to treat something such as a mutated form of Ebola or the HIV virus (Bavari 2807). Thus far, this analysis has questioned the natural ways in which viruses and bacterial diseases can mutate and provide a threat to the over expanding human populations of the world; however, the fact of the matter is that another branch of very prescient threat exists within the minds of those individuals around the world that seek to understand or already understand how to weaponize key diseases as a means of harming their enemies. Although this may seem like a type of science fiction, the fact of the matter is that even 30 and 40 years ago, Soviet and American scientists had stockpiles of biological weaponry that were sufficient to kill millions. Soviet scientists in the 1980s developed a synthesis of Ebola and smallpox which was dubbed “ BlackBox” . This BlackBox had a mortality rate of over 90%; meaning that of those infected by it if it were ever employed, 90% would succumb to the disease and die (Peters 27). Supposedly, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the stockpiles of these disease agents, as well as the scientists that helped to create them, were safeguarded. However, the existence of such germ research and the development of such singularly deadly results is enough to give anyone pause when dealing with the subject.
Arno Müllbacher, et al. "Intranasal Flu Vaccine Protective Against Seasonal And H5N1 Avian Influenza Infections." Plos ONE 4.4 (2009): 1-6. Academic Search Complete. Web. 13 Jan. 2013.
Peters, Katherine Mclntire. "Behind In The Biowar." Government Executive 33.15 (2001): 27. Business Source Premier. Web. 13 Jan. 2013.
Pronczuk, Jenny, and Simona Surdu. "Children's Environmental Health In The Twenty-First Century." Annals Of The New York Academy Of Sciences 1140.(2008): 143-154. Academic Search Complete. Web. 13 Jan. 2013.
Rheingans, R., R. Dreibelbis, and M. C. Freeman. "Beyond The Millennium Development Goals: Public Health Challenges In Water And Sanitation." Global Public Health 1.1 (2006): 31-48. Academic Search Complete. Web. 13 Jan. 2013.
Sina Bavari, et al. "Discovery And Early Development Of AVI-7537 And AVI-7288 For The Treatment Of Ebola Virus And Marburg Virus Infections." Viruses (1999-4915) 4.11 (2012): 2806-2830. Academic Search Complete. Web. 13 Jan. 2013.