When mentioning the topic of infectious diseases and how they have affected the population over the last century, most people would be surprised to learn that the number of deaths caused by infectious disease is similar today to the number it was 60 years ago. According to a report recently published in the journal of the American Medical Association, infectious disease accounted for 5.4 percent of deaths from 1980 to 2014, and that number is still surprising to many.
In the first part of the century, almost half of all deaths were caused by infectious diseases like tuberculosis, pneumonia, and diarrhea. Since then, great progress has been made in sanitation, antibiotics, and vaccination programs. But for the past 60 or so year's we have flat-lined and even seen some negative effects of newly emerging diseases. For example because of HIV/AIDS, from 1980 through 1995, the average number of deaths per capita rose dramatically before new antiretroviral drugs became available and started the comeback in 1995.
The next question is how do we continue to lower the number of deaths due to infectious diseases and prepare for the net outbreak? Healthcare facilities are a great place to start. Hospitals currently track their infection rates and are even compared against each other in the national database. Adding new technologies such as UVC surface treatments can help lower the bioburden and provide cleaner areas for patients to get treated.
To see the original article and a graph of the overall mortality rate due to infection over the last century, click here.