Links: Dr. Foege; Eradicating Ten Tropical Diseases by 2020; George Washington

By Brian Lowther

First check out this four minute interview of Dr. Bill Foege of the Gates Foundation. Dr. Foege is a devout believer and an American epidemiologist who is credited with devising the global strategy that led to the eradication of smallpox. In this interview Dr. Foege discusses lessons learned from the smallpox campaign, and what can be done to eradicate other diseases that have vaccines, such as pneumonia. Among other things, he mentions the Gavi Fund, a public-private global health partnership committed to increasing access to immunization in poor countries.

Next check out this article that details the new WHO campaign to eradicate at least 10 neglected tropical diseases by 2020. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan hopes this plan will finally end “the vast misery caused by these ancient diseases of poverty."

Lastly check out this article from the New England Journal of Medicine, which gives a great summary of infectious disease.  It gets fairly technical in certain places but also provides interesting details about infectious disease in the life of President George Washington. Did you know that he died of an acute infectious disease believed to have been bacterial epiglottitis, was scarred by smallpox, survived multiple debilitating bouts of malaria, suffered wound infections and abscesses, nursed his brother on a tropical island as he died of tuberculosis, and even had an influenza pandemic named after him (the Washington influenza of 1789–1790)? These details about Washington frame a historical perspective of infectious disease and show the remarkable progress that has been made since his day.

Posted on March 29, 2012 and filed under First 30.