I recently published an article about the 10 diseases that will become far more common after the collapse and so many people requested more information about this diseases and what to do to prevent them. There is a lot to cover and I will do my best to answer all your questions. Most of this diseases are the result of poverty, unsanitary (overcrowded) conditions, lack of food and clean water, personal hygiene, animal infestation, lack of medication and vaccines that are currently at our disposal and they prevent so many diseases and viruses. So let’s go again through our list with the 10 most common diseases following a collapse and explain them better.
1.Typhus: Typhus is caused by one of two types of bacteria: Rickettsia typhi or Rickettsia prowazekii.
Rickettsia typhi causes murine or endemic typhus.
- Endemic typhus is uncommon in the United States. It is usually seen in areas where hygiene is poor and the temperature is cold. Endemic typhus is sometimes called “jail fever.” The bacteria that causes this type is usually spread by rats to fleas to humans.
- Murine typhus occurs in the southern United States, particularly California and Texas. It is often seen during the summer and fall. It is rarely deadly. You are more likely to get this type of typhus if you are around rats feces or fleas, and other animals such as cats, opossums, raccoons, and skunks.
Rickettsia prowazekii causes epidemic typhus. It is spread by lice. Brill-Zinsser disease is a mild form of epidemic typhus. It occurs when the bacteria re-activates in a person who was previously infected. It is more common in the elderly.
Symptoms of murine or endemic typhus may include:
- Abdominal pain
- Dull red rash that begins on the middle of the body and spreads
- Extremely high fever (105 – 106 degrees Fahrenheit), which may last up to 2 weeks
- Hacking, dry cough
- Joint and muscle pain
Symptoms of epidemic typhus may include:
- High fever (104 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Joint pain (arthralgia)
- Lights that appear very bright; light may hurt the eyes
- Low blood pressure
- Rash that begins on the chest and spreads to the rest of the body (except the palms of the hands and soles of the feet)
- Severe headache
- Severe muscle pain (myalgia)
The early rash is a light rose color and fades when you press on it. Later, the rash becomes dull and red and does not fade. People with severe typhus may also develop small areas of bleeding into the skin (petechiae).
Word of the day: Prepare! And do it the old fashion way, like our fore-fathers did it and succeed long before us, because what lies ahead of us will require all the help we can get. Watch this video and learn the 3 skills that ensured our ancestors survival in hard times of famine and war.
Treatment includes antibiotics such as:
- Chloramphenicol (less common)
Tetracycline taken by mouth can permanently stain teeth that are still forming. It is usually not prescribed for children until after all of their permanent teeth have grown in.
Patients with epidemic typhus may need intravenous fluids and oxygen.
Without treatment, death may occur in 10 – 60% of patients with epidemic typhus. Patients over age 60 have the highest risk of death. Patients who receive treatment quickly should completely recover.
Less than 2% of untreated patients with murine typhus may die. Prompt antibiotic treatment will cure nearly all patients.
Avoid areas where you might encounter rat fleas or lice. Good sanitation and public health measures reduce the rat population.
Measures to get rid of lice when an infection has been found include:
- Boiling clothes or avoiding infested clothing for at least 5 days (lice will die without feeding on blood)
- Using insecticides (10% DDT, 1% malathion, or 1% permethrin)
2 Typhoid: (Also known as Salmonella Infection)
Salmonella infection is a common bacterial disease that affects the intestinal tract. Salmonella bacteria typically live in animal and human intestines and are shed through feces. Humans become infected most frequently through contaminated water or food sources.
Typically, people with salmonella infection develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps within eight to 72 hours. Most healthy people recover within a few days without specific treatment.
In some cases, the diarrhea associated with salmonella infection can be so dehydrating as to require prompt medical attention. Life-threatening complications also may develop if the infection spreads beyond your intestines. Your risk of salmonella infection is higher if you travel to countries with poor sanitation.
Salmonella infection is usually caused by eating raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs or egg products. The incubation period ranges from several hours to two days. Most salmonella infections can be classified as gastroenteritis.
Possible signs and symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle pains
- Blood in the stool
Signs and symptoms of salmonella infection generally last four to seven days, although it may take several months for your bowels to return to normal.
A few varieties of salmonella bacteria result in typhoid fever, a sometimes deadly disease that is more common in developing countries.
Because salmonella infection can be dehydrating, replacement of fluids and electrolytes is the focus of treatment. Severe cases may require hospitalization and fluids delivered directly into a vein (intravenous). In addition, your doctor may recommend:
- Anti-diarrheals. Medications like loperamide (Imodium) can help relieve cramping, but they may also prolong the diarrhea associated with salmonella infection.
- Antibiotics. If your doctor suspects that salmonella bacteria have entered your bloodstream, or if you have a severe case or a compromised immune system, he or she may prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria. Antibiotics are not of benefit in uncomplicated cases. In fact, antibiotics may prolong the period in which you carry the bacteria and can infect others, and they can increase your risk of relapse.
Even if you don’t need medical attention for your salmonella infection, you need to take care not to dehydrate, a common concern with diarrhea and vomiting. Adults should drink water or suck on ice chips. For children, you can use an oral rehydration solution, such as Pedialyte, unless your doctor advises otherwise.
Salmonella infection is contagious, so take precautions to avoid spreading bacteria to others. Preventive methods are especially important when preparing food or providing care for infants, older adults and people with compromised immune systems. Be sure to cook food thoroughly and refrigerate or freeze food promptly.
Washing your hands thoroughly can help prevent the transfer of salmonella bacteria to your mouth or to any food you’re preparing. Wash your hands after you:
- Use the toilet
- Change a diaper
- Handle raw meat or poultry
- Clean up pet feces
- Touch reptiles or birds
To prevent cross-contamination:
- Store raw meat, poultry and seafood away from other foods in your refrigerator
- If possible, have two cutting boards in your kitchen — one for raw meat and the other for fruits and vegetables
- Never place cooked food on an unwashed plate that previously held raw meat
Avoid eating raw eggs
Cookie dough, homemade ice cream and eggnog all contain raw eggs. If you must consume raw eggs, make sure they’ve been pasteurized.
3 Pellagra: Pellagra is a disease that occurs when a person does not get enough niacin (one of the B complex vitamins) ortryptophan (an amino acid).
Symptoms of pellagra include:
- Inflamed mucus membranes
- Mental confusion
- Scaly skin sores
- Oral supplementation with nicotinamide is usually used (e.g 100-200 mg three times a day until symptoms remit).
- Nicotinamide is used in preference to nicotinic acid, as side-effects relating to vasodilatation are fewer, eg flushing.
- Cutaneous lesions begin to resolve in 24-48 hours after starting treatment.
Prompt diagnosis and treatment of cases leads to an excellent recovery.
Prevention involves adequate niacin intake and dietary advice to vulnerable groups, eg pregnant women.
4. Hantavirus: Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a rare but deadly viral infection. It is spread by mice and rats. They shed the virus in their urine, droppings, and saliva. Tiny droplets with the virus can enter the air. People can get the disease if they breathe infected air or come into contact with rodents or their urine or droppings. You cannot catch it from people.
Early symptoms of HPS include
- Muscle aches, especially in the thighs, hips and back
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain
Later symptoms include coughing and shortness of breath.
HPS is rare. It can be deadly. Controlling rodents in and around your house is the best way to prevent infection. If you have been around rodents and have symptoms of fever, deep muscle aches, and severe shortness of breath, see your doctor immediately.
There is no specific treatment, cure, or vaccine for HPS. Patients may do better if it is recognized early and they get medical care in an intensive care unit. They often need to use a breathing machine and have oxygen therapy.
5. Bubonic Plague: Plague is an infectious disease that affects rodents, certain other animals and humans. It is caused by the Yersinia pestis bacteria. These bacteria are found in many areas of the world, including the United States.
Bubonic plague symptoms appear suddenly, usually after 2 – 5 days of exposure to the bacteria. Symptoms include:
- General ill feeling (malaise)
- Muscle pain
- Smooth, painful lymph gland swelling called a bubo
- Commonly found in the groin, but may occur in the armpits or neck, most often at the site of the infection (bite or scratch)
- Pain may occur in the area before the swelling appears
People with the plague need immediate treatment. If treatment is not received within 24 hours of when the first symptoms occur, death may occur.
Antibiotics such as streptomycin, gentamicin, doxycycline, or ciprofloxacin are used to treat plague. Oxygen, intravenous fluids, and respiratory support usually are also needed.
Patients with pneumonic plague should be strictly isolated from caregivers and other patients. People who have had contact with anyone infected by pneumonic plague should be watched carefully and given antibiotics as a preventive measure.
Rat control and watching for the disease in the wild rodent population are the main measures used to control the risk of epidemics. A vaccination is available for high-risk workers, but its effectiveness is not clearly established.
6. Leptospirosis: Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals. It is caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. In humans, it can cause a wide range of symptoms, some of which may be mistaken for other diseases. Some infected persons, however, may have no symptoms at all.
In humans, Leptospirosis can cause a wide range of symptoms, including:
- High fever
- Muscle aches
- Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)
- Red eyes
- Abdominal Pain
Many of these symptoms can be mistaken for other diseases. In addition, some infected persons may have no symptoms at all.
The time between a person’s exposure to a contaminated source and becoming sick is 2 days to 4 weeks. Illness usually begins abruptly with fever and other symptoms. Leptospirosis may occur in two phases:
- after the first phase (with fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, or diarrhea) the patient may recover for a time but become ill again.
- if a second phase occurs, it is more severe; the person may have kidney or liver failure or meningitis. This phase is also called Weil’s disease.
The illness lasts from a few days to 3 weeks or longer. Without treatment, recovery may take several months.
Leptospirosis is treated with antibiotics, such as doxycycline or penicillin, which should be given early in the course of the disease.
Intravenous antibiotics may be required for persons with more severe symptoms. Persons with symptoms suggestive of leptospirosis should contact a health care provider.
The risk of acquiring leptospirosis can be greatly reduced by not swimming or wading in water that might be contaminated with animal urine, or eliminating contact with potentially infected animals.
Protective clothing or footwear should be worn by those exposed to contaminated water or soil because of their job or recreational activities.
7. Chagas Disease: Chagas disease it is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which is transmitted to animals and people by insect vectors and is found only in the Americas (mainly, in rural areas of Latin America where poverty is widespread). Chagas disease (T. cruzi infection) is also referred to as American trypanosomiasis.
Chagas disease can be acute or chronic. Symptoms range from mild to severe, although many people don’t experience symptoms until the chronic stage.
The acute phase of Chagas disease, which lasts for weeks or months, may be symptom-free. When signs and symptoms do occur, they are usually mild and may include:
- Swelling at the infection site
- Body aches
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea, diarrhea or vomiting
- Swollen glands
- Enlargement of your liver or spleen
Signs and symptoms that develop during the acute phase usually go away on their own. However, if untreated, the infection persists and advances to the chronic phase.
Signs and symptoms of the chronic phase of Chagas disease may occur 10 to 20 years after initial infection, or they may never occur. In severe cases, however, Chagas disease signs and symptoms may include:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Inflamed, enlarged heart (cardiomyopathy)
- Congestive heart failure
- Sudden cardiac arrest
- Difficulty swallowing due to enlarged esophagus
- Abdominal pain or constipation due to enlarged colon
To kill the parasite, Chagas disease can be treated with benznidazole and also nifurtimox. Both medicines are almost 100% effective in curing the disease if given soon after infection at the onset of the acute phase. However, the efficacy of both diminishes the longer a person has been infected. Treatment is also indicated for those in whom the infection has been reactivated (for example due to immunosuppression), for infants with congenital infection and for patients during the early chronic phase. Infected adults, especially those with no symptoms, should be offered treatment. The potential benefits of medication in preventing or delaying the development of Chagas disease should be weighed against the long duration of treatment (up to 2 months) and possible adverse reactions (occurring in up to 40% of treated patients).
Benznidazole and nifurtimox should not be taken by pregnant women or by people with kidney or liver failure. Nifurtimox is also contraindicated for people with a background of neurological or psychiatric disorders.
Additionally, specific treatment for cardiac or digestive manifestations may be required.
There is no vaccine for Chagas disease.
T. cruzi can infect several species of the triatomine bug, the majority of which are found in the Americas. Depending on the geographical area, WHO recommends the following approaches to prevention and control:
- insecticide spraying of houses and surrounding areas;
- house improvements to prevent vector infestation;
- personal preventive measures such as bednets;
- good hygiene practices in food preparation, transportation, storage and consumption;
- screening of newborns and other children of infected mothers to provide early diagnosis and treatment.
8. Food Poisoning: There are many different types of food poisoning. The most common are Campylobacter and Salmonella and unfortunately the numbers of people affected by Campylobacter is increasing year after year. Cases of Salmonella have declined due to immunisation of flocks
The young and the elderly are particularly at risk and those people whose job involves handling food, working with children or nursing may pass the infection onto others.
Here are some basic information about the most common types of food poisoning, symptoms and prevention.
9. Heart Attacks/Strokes: Heart attacks and strokes will surge after a collapse of any kind. Lack of blood pressure medication will cause the death of many but more still will die due to over exertion. They will be undertaking physical tasks they have never done before and for many the strain will simply be too much. Add cold weather to a collapse scenario and the situation is even more dire as the blood becomes cool and sticky and forms small clots that can lead to both heart attacks and strokes. Here is a link for information about signs and how to prevent both of them .
10. Emerging Diseases: Many new diseases are emerging, or have emerged over the last few years. There is still a great deal to find out about the mode of transmission, susceptibility and pandemic potential of diseases such as MERS-nCV, H5N1 and H7N9 both forms of avian flu, and other zoonotic diseases that pose a threat to humans. Here the symptoms, treatment and prevention could be endless.
Melissa Lane, Self Sustained