Global health issues is a broad term used to describe a host of diseases and disorders that affect large populations across the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) monitors many of these issues and suggests best practices for managing such illnesses and conditions as AIDS, influenza, Ebola (EE-bol-ah) virus disease, bioterrorism, and malnutrition.
In 2014, an outbreak of Ebola virus disease *
The World Health Organization lists more than 200 health topics on its website ranging from such specific diseases as AIDS * , influenza * , measles, Ebola, and plague * to broader concerns of poverty, malnutrition, climate change, and bioterrorism. The 10 leading causes of death around the world are: (1) ischemic heart disease; (2) stroke; (3) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; (4) lower respiratory infections (lungs); (5) upper respiratory infections (of the larynx/pharynx, trachea, and bronchi); (6) HIV/AIDS; (7) diarrheal disease; (8) diabetes; (9) road injuries (motor vehicle accidents); and (10) hypertension. Many of the diseases and other health concerns identified as global issues are covered in other entries in this text, particularly such communicable diseases as dengue fever, malaria, and Ebola virus disease. The entry on travel-related infections also discusses a number of diseases that are global health issues.
Five other diseases of global concern not covered elsewhere in this text are as follows:
Many diseases that are of global concern are related to socioeconomic inequities within and between nations. Factors that affect the incidence of disease around the world include poverty; lack of education; lack of healthcare resources; inequities between men and women; inadequate housing; and such environmental factors as water pollution * , air pollution * , and desertification, which refers to regions with little rainfall turning into deserts as the result of overpopulation.
See also AIDS and HIV Infection • Cholera • Dengue Fever • Diarrhea • Dietary Deficiencies • Ebola Virus Disease • Influenza • Malaria • Malnutrition • Plague • Travel-Related Infections: Overview • Trypanosomiasis • Tuberculosis • Yellow Fever • Zika Virus Infection • Zoonoses: Overview
DeLaet, Debra L., and David E. DeLaet. Global Health in the 21st Century: The Globalization of Disease and Wellness. New York: Routledge, 2012.
Skolnick, Richard. Global Health 101. 3rd ed. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett, 2015.
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World Health Organization. Avenue Appia 20, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland. Website: www.who.org (accessed April 23, 2016).
* Ebola virus disease (formerly referred to as Ebola hemorrhagic fever) is a communicable disease caused by a virus that causes severe bleeding, organ failure, and death.
* AIDS (or Acquired Immunodeficiency [ih-myoo-no-dih-FIH-shen-see] Syndrome) is an infection that severely weakens the immune system; it is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
* influenza (IN-floo-EN-zuh) is a contagious viral infection that attacks the respiratory tract, including the nose, throat, and lungs. Also known as the flu.
* plague (PLAYG) is a serious bacterial infection that is spread to humans by infected rodents and their fleas.
* encephalopathy is any disease of the brain; encephalo comes from the Greek word for brain and pathy comes from the Greek word for disease.
* prion (PREE-on) diseases are rare diseases that cause degeneration of the neuromuscular system in humans and animals. Also called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs).
* antibiotic (AN-tie-by-AH-tik) is a drug that kills or slows the growth of bacteria.
* water pollution is contamination of the natural water supply including lakes, rivers, oceans, aquifers, and ground water by chemical, physical, radioactive, or pathogenic (disease-causing) microbial substances.
* air pollution is a mixture of solid particles and gases in the air; can be natural or human-made.
* parasite (PAIR-uh-site) is an organism such as protozoa (onecelled animals), worms, or insects that must live on or inside a human or other organism to survive. An animal or plant harboring a parasite is called its host. Parasites live at the expense of the host and may cause illness. The adjectival form is parasitic.
* paralysis (pah-RAHL-uh-sis) is the loss or impairment of the ability to move some part of the body.
* biopsy (BI-op-see) is a test in which a small sample of skin or other body tissue is removed and examined for signs of disease.