Tre Minacce Sanitarie Globali

SAN FRANCISCO – La tragica epidemia di Ebola in Africa occidentale ha sottolineato la necessità di rafforzare i sistemi sanitari sia a livello nazionale che globale. Ma, anche se Ebola ha diretto l’attenzione del mondo sulle carenze sistemiche, l’obiettivo deve essere quello di combattere le epidemie persistenti che in sordina infliggono dolore e morte alle popolazioni di tutto il mondo.

Ebola ha sicuramente provocato tremende sofferenze. Ma non è la prima - o il più devastante – pandemia che il mondo ha dovuto affrontare. In realtà, il vaiolo è la più letale delle malattie note all’umanità; fino alla scoperta del vaccino ad opera di Edward Jenner nel 1796, è stata la principale causa di morte in Europa. Prima della sua eliminazione, nel 1980, ha ucciso circa 300-500 milioni di persone.

La peste bubbonica del XIV secolo ha ucciso 75-100 milioni di persone - più della metà della popolazione europea. Quasi 75 milioni di persone, ovvero il 3-5% della popolazione mondiale, sono morti in pochi mesi, durante la pandemia influenzale del 1918 - più del doppio del numero di persone uccise nella prima guerra mondiale.

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