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Disease and Infections have a large impact
on individuals and communities, the two diseases I have chosen are Influenza
and Ebola, this is because they are both serious diseases that can be
transmitted quickly. There are three main areas of study when finding
information on the impacts of diseases include; the impact on an individual,
the impact on the population and the economic impact. All of which can be linked
together and have a knock-on effect which is why it is important to know and
understand the impacts that diseases cause. Knowing the effects of diseases can
allow people to come up with ways to improve the health care system and
governments economic decisions to help sick individuals and also the community.


Influenza is a viral disease which infects
the respiratory system, when infected, treatment is required as well as time
for recovery. Influenza has a range of symptoms, including; fever, fatigue,
coughing, sore throat, headaches and many more. These symptoms result in those
infected to take time off work as it would be difficult to work in those
conditions. Taking time off work can impact the infected person in negative and
positive ways. The individual may take less time to recover when not attending
work, this means that when they do come back to work, they will be fully
recovered. Furthermore, if the sick individual did not take time off work, it
could result in infecting others in the workplace, which impacts the workplace
as more people would take time off work due to illness. On the other hand,
taking time off of work could induce stress on the infected person, this is
because they may feel guilty about not attending or about the work they will
have to do when they go back. Stress can impact influenza and other diseases as
it can cause fatigue or headaches which can make the symptoms of influenza
worse, therefore it could take longer to recover from the illness. Taking time
off work can not only impact the individual in good and bad ways, the economy
also is impacted by this. SSP, otherwise known as Statutory Sick Pay is part of
the UK’s Employment Laws, this is where the sick individual takes time off work
for 4 or more days and so, get paid around £87.35 a week for a certain amount
of time (Landau Law Solicitors, c2017). Ultimately, when a person is infected
with influenza, they will be sick for around 2 to 5 days, depending on
treatment and immune system, this means that it is possible that those sick
will take time off work and receive SSP (WebMD, 2017). SSP is paid by the
government and so, there can be an economic strain when many people are off
work for a long time.

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Influenza impacts the economy in many ways,
SSP is a big factor, however the government also has to fund the NHS, the
healthcare system. Influenza is a disease which is spread quickly and easily,
through direct and indirect contact. This means that many people will be
infected very quickly, resulting large amounts of people going to see there GP
for treatment or diagnosis. Generally, when someone has mild influenza, it is
suggested bed rest and fluids for treatment, however in some cases a
prescription of antiviral drugs will be given. The economic impact of large
amounts of people receiving treatments for influenza involves, the costs of
prescriptions which is the biggest factor on the economy caused by influenza. These
drugs are paid for by the government, however the medication is given to treat
the infection and also, reduce any further complications. Complications of
influenza can be costly as if severe, it can be potentially fatal.


Another part of the impacts of diseases is
the effect on the population, influenza is an easily transmitted disease which
can be wide spread. Influenza is a viral disease which is not typically fatal,
therefore the population will not be having any large losses. There are cases
of influenza having complications due to lack of treatment which resulted in
death, however influenza is typically treated and a full recovery usually takes
place, meaning the population is not greatly impacted by influenza. The biggest
effecting factor of influenza is transmission, this disease is easily spread
directly and indirectly which allows it to spread quickly and easily. There are
ways to reduce influenza’s transmissions, however it can be costly for
individuals and the economy (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016).


Ebola and influenza are both diseases that
spread directly and indirectly which allows them to transmit very quickly.
Influenza is a wide spread disease which infects many people in the colder
climate, like the UK. Ebola is very different, the Ebola Virus is common in
West African Countries, for example; Sierra Lionne. Ebola is common in
underdeveloped countries, this is because there are many factors that influence
the spread of Ebola, e.g. poor hygiene, bad healthcare, cultural practices and
many more. These factors mean that the Ebola Virus is spread easily and very
quickly through the community. Ebola is very different to influenza, this is
because the disease is fatal and there is no known cure for the disease, the
severity of this disease means that the impacts on the individuals and
community are also more severe.


The Ebola Virus is a haemorrhagic fever
which infects susceptible people very easily, it impacts those infected by
severe symptoms which would mean that the individuals will stop working. In the
countries where Ebola is common, work regulations and laws aren’t in practice
and so, for the individual that is infected, they will have no income as they
are not going to work. Due to the communities being underdeveloped, this could
impact their families also as they may not be able to afford food and
essentials if there is no/less money being made. Furthermore, the infected
individual will be effected by the symptoms and unfortunately, the factors in
which underdeveloped live in could mean that the disease becomes more severe
and result in death within a few days of infection. Despite a big amount of
impacts on those infected, the families and communities are also effected
greatly. Many cases of Ebola show that when one person is infected the families
tend to get the disease and furthermore, the communities get infected also. The
reason for this is because the disease is very easily transmitted and the bad
hygiene, living conditions and diet also allow the disease to spread even
quicker for those communities. This shows that there are substantial impacts on
the infected individuals, as well as their families and the community (NHS
Choices, 2016).


The economy of the underdeveloped countries
that are infected with the Ebola Virus are impacted greatly by the disease.
When people get sick, healthcare needs to be provided, however Ebola is an
incurable disease which spreads easily and is difficult to treat effectively,
all of which make Ebola an extremely difficult disease for healthcare to
control. This problem puts a huge strain on the economy of the countries
infected, not only because it is severe and hard to treat but also due to the
masses of people infected, any country would struggle to control this, however
it is much harder for an underdeveloped country. The Ebola Virus causes a large
strain on the country’s economy which is why many developed countries use NGO’s
and health care specialists to help those infected which in effect also helps
the country, economy and communities (World Health Organisation, 2017).


Population is another huge part of what
Ebola impacts, due to the severity of the disease, many of those infected have
died which causes a big loss of the population in those countries which have
been infected. There are around 28,000 people infected and 11,000 fatalities
which shows that the population is greatly impacted by the Ebola Virus (World
Health Organisation, 2017). This loss is fairly large due to the ability to
transmit easily and so, many are infected. A reduction in population in
underdeveloped areas is bad as individuals will be required by their families
to get jobs from young ages as there is a pressure to make money to provide for
their family.


In summary, influenza and Ebola are diseases
that are both easily transmitted and impact individuals, the economy and the
community greatly. Influenza is a virus which infects many in the winter
season, an infected person will typically have the infection for a few days and
then recover, however there are cases of serious complications that resulted in
death. The effects of the disease include; people taking time off of work,
strain on healthcare as many are infected and herd immunity meaning many people
are infected at a similar time. Influenza is a wide spread disease in the UK,
however it is not large-scale, Ebola is a fatal disease which has infected and
killed many people in West Africa. Due to the Ebola Virus being incurable and
difficult to control, underdeveloped communities, like Sierra Lionne are
impacted largely. The main effects of Ebola are; strain on healthcare which is
already poor, taking time off work for those infected may mean that the family
has no money and there are many fatalities caused by Ebola. These diseases are
very different, they are spread in different countries, the economies are
different and the severity of the diseases, all of which shows how factors can
influence diseases and the great effects diseases have on different things.
Despite the differences, they both impact different the individual, economy and
population hugely.

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