As I sat today on a full train heading home in the crowded capital of Sweden, I noticed the wave of coughing among the passengers. It takes only one to infect us all I started thinking and it hit me, it takes only one to take down a whole population.
When look at health in an epidemiological aspect we are toughed to look at incidence and prevalence, something that is becoming more and more important to monitor in this globalised world.
Someone half way around the world could give you a virus.
Today, the world has never seemed smaller due to two things
1) Increase in truism and long-destination flights
2) Capitalism, free trade (more or less). A grain grown in south Asia can end up as food in North of Iceland, we ship millions of items across the world with little or no regulation.
Sweden is a cold isolated country if one looks at the map. The most exotic insects we have are the kind that will only put you in the hospital if you eat enormous amounts of them and get indigestion problems, yes they are for the most part harmless. But last year, reports were made of the black widow entering our borders through shipping’s of Eco-friendly fabric from Asia. So, a death (they aren’t that dangerous but let’s be dramatic anyway) from the other side of the world entered our homes.
Deadly Viruses , which are our only natural enemy due to their incredible intelligence and design, can now reach every country within hours. In the 17;th, 18;th and 19;th century, we experienced some of the worlds worst plagues and air, blood and water-borne diseases in history. Their large impacts were due to Industrialisation and increase of large populations living close together.
Today, we live closer than ever. It doesn’t matter where you are, as long as there is an airport in your country. You are in trouble.
Unfortunately, the help resources have not caught up with globalisation. We still don’t have proper (well known) ways of preventing the threats to Global Health. Just because Viruses collaborate, doesn’t mean that nations are prepared to.
We must think of earth as one big, potentially pest-infected nation in which we have to put aside the lines we have drawn on the map and realise that disease, and even corruption and poverty, does not know of any boarders.
In the future, we will all have to realise that if a black widow can survive in cold, isolated Sweden, so can unity and fight against global disease in our cold and isolated (nationalized) minds.