Archive for public health

The Hillary Clinton Boil

Posted in Ecological resilience, Revolution with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2016 by rgwallace

The Hillary Clinton Strain2An outbreak of flesh-eating cutaneous leishmaniasis is disfiguring hundreds of thousands across Syria, Eastern Libya, Yemen, and Iraq.

As all are countries in which the leading Democratic Party candidate for the U.S. presidency green-lit war, for parsimony’s sake the so-called “Aleppo boil” or “Baghdad boil” should be appropriately renamed.

“Bombed out buildings,” Sarah Hiddleston reports,

disrupted insecticide control, and poor water and sanitation services create a ripe breeding ground for sandflies [that transmit the Leishmania trypanosomes]. Poor health systems mean treatment is difficult to reach or insufficient, and refugees fleeing conflict take the disease into non-immune areas or arrive in endemic areas without immunity themselves.

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Is Ebola Vaccine-Resistant?

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution with tags , , , , , , , on November 20, 2015 by rgwallace

Ebola vaccine 1The Freudian unconscious also has a formal aspect and is not merely a matter of content: recall the cases where Freud interprets a dream so that what is repressed/excluded from its content returns as a feature of the form of the dream…the true secret of the dream is not its content…but the form itself. –Slavoj Žižek (2014)

News of Ebola in West Africa is ping ponging between joyous declarations the outbreak is over to abashed announcements of its return.

One is reminded of the Onion‘s farcical September 1939 front page: “WA-“. Both a denouement denied and, in the other direction, the return of the repressed.

Our group’s latest commentary, just published online in the International Journal of Health Services, a review and extension of previous work, proposes an explanation for the never-quite-ending outbreak,

[R]egional neoliberalism may affix the stochastic ‘friction’ of ecological relationships imposed by the forest across populations, which, when above a threshold, keeps the virus from lining up transmission above replacement. Export-led logging, mining, and intensive agriculture may depress such functional noise, permitting novel spillovers [across species] larger forces of infection. Mature outbreaks, meanwhile, can continue to circulate even in the face of efficient vaccines.

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Everything and the Cop

Posted in Ecological resilience, Revolution with tags , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2014 by rgwallace

EricGarner2In an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN, U.S. Representative Peter King (R-NY) blamed Eric Garner’s death not on the cop who choked him out, but on Garner’s underlying medical condition.

As if the autonomous arm of Daniel Pantaleo–an officer already sued multiple times for false arrest–happened to find itself around Garner’s neck just as the man was having a heart attack.

Yet the Long Island congressman’s attempt at blaming the victim only draws attention to the larger problem he maneuvers to deflect.

King ends up instantiating the lengths to which the U.S. individualizes public health problems as a matter of policy. As I describe here and here, across many a disease and chronic illness, health is in fact deeply structured by the institutionally supported racism that left Garner’s body unattended on a Staten Island sidewalk.

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Soft Soap

Posted in Revolution with tags , , , on July 10, 2014 by rgwallace

Sculptor Aaron Dysart’s moving meditation here on the Mississippi River culminates in a hilarious Duchampian stunt.

The public health analogs are legion, stretching far beyond concepts in environmental thinking.

Many progressive efforts in global public health are organized around accepting the predicates of the problems the system to be fought imposes.

On the contrary, the boundaries of conceivable intervention extend beyond the soft soap the few respectable institutions allowed to address the crises are willing to risk as a solution. And certainly far outside state-sanctioned notions of social justice.

Many global health researchers–a networked elite, oft-bought, and structurally dishonest–know this full well. Any expectation they’d say so outside whispers in the airport lounge is another matter.

The Great Recession Flu

Posted in Evolution, Influenza with tags , , , , , , , on January 2, 2011 by rgwallace

Swine flu is so 2009. Like La Roux and v-neck t-shirts.

And yet here we are nearly two years later and the United Kingdom is suffering a swine flu attack worse than anything it previously faced. The number of flu patients in intensive care has risen by 60% in the past week to 738, four times greater than at the pandemic’s peak in 2009. Some hospitals are on ‘black alert,’ canceling non-urgent operations and running short on intensive care beds.

Children are taking the worse of the blows. The incidence for the under-four age group is approaching 200 per 100,000, the epidemic threshold, even before the post-holiday return to school, where flus best incubate.

Since its emergence the novel H1N1 strain which swept the planet mid-2009 has quietly remained the world’s dominant influenza strain, sharing the stage with seasonal H3N2 and influenza B. As we’ve discussed several times here, the sustained global presence would likely permit the virus the opportunity to evolve independently across multiple populations under different social and public health regimens.

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