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14.6: Modern disease trends

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    Paths of four diseases.JPG

    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\). Paths of four diseases. Vertical axis shows cases in thousands.

    Many ordinary diseases have been subdued since the last half of the twentieth century, some to the point of extinction from the natural world. Smallpox and rinderpest are gone, and polio nearly so—as we are writing this (2016–17), polio workers are anticipating its extinction in the foreseeable future. Diptheria is on a similar path (Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\)), with no cases at all in the United States during the twentieth century.

    Diseases such as whooping cough and measles (Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\)) have been subdued but remain with us, with some cycling through periodic outbreaks. The rates of many ordinary diseases are being reduced, and infectious disease is no longer the major cause of deaths in human populations.

    Rates of various sexually transmitted diseases, however, are on a different course (Figure \(\PageIndex{2}\)). Gonorrhea rates have declined but remain considerably above zero, and it is a commonly reported disease in the United States. The appearance of syphilis appears to be cyclic, as rates had declined but are now rising again. Rates of chlamydia—which can lead to serious outcomes, including infertility in women— have been increasing steadily, without an end in sight, and rates of genital herpes and other sexually transmitted diseases are rising similarly. Sexually transmitted diseases are a prominent problem to be solved in the twentieth century.


    Figure \(\PageIndex{2}\). Sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S. The vertical axis shows the rate per 100,000 population.

    This page titled 14.6: Modern disease trends is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Clarence Lehman, Shelby Loberg, & Adam Clark (University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.