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Introduction to Pathogen Management

Biology (Year 12) - Pathogen Management Strategies

Ben Whitten

Why do we need pathogen management strategies? In the last few decades, growth in the number of emerging diseases, speed of transmission and distribution of familiar diseases has increased rapidly. Due to the effects of globalisation, outbreaks of disease that could have previously been contained can now spread quickly and become global incidents; for example, the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020-21. There are three categories of emerging diseases.

  1. Diseases which have recently appeared in a population

  2. Diseases htat have occurred previously but until recently have affected only small numbers in isolated places

  3. Diseases that have occurred previously but only recently have been associated with a newly identified pathogen

A number of different factors are targeted in regards to the specific type of pathogen which is being controlled, including:

  • Transmission

  • Environmental factors

  • Characteristics of the infected population

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has response teams and strategies aimed at a number of factors.

  • Prevention

  • Anticipation

  • Early detection

  • Containment

  • Control

  • Eradication

What is epidemiology? Epidemiology is the study of the occurrence of diseases in populations. Epidemiologists are professionals who work to both prevent and/or minimise the impact of diseases in the population. Their work may include activities such as identifying outbreaks, determining the effectiveness of a vaccine, and calculating the cost effectiveness of various means of controlling disease transmission. Epidemioloigists analyse data gathered about notifiable diseases, which are communicable diseases that, if diagnosed, are required to be reported to a state government healthcare working group.

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