Monday, April 03, 2006

Lightstone, Gillian
Chemistry p. 4

Opening up the Honors Chemistry Student’s mind

It was in 1850 when the Epidemiological Society was founded in order to find the causes of cholera and other “epidemic diseases.” But even before the society was created, diseases had been around for centuries, killing thousands of people at a time. The reason why an honors chemistry student should read this book would be so they could explore the many different branches in which chemistry stems into, epidemics being one of many.
The job of an epidemiologist is to find ways on how to stop an outbreak of a disease and at the same time deepen the world’s knowledge of the disease process. In 1330 a plague - known as Black Death or the bubonic plague - hit Europe. In the time span of 20 years it was recorded that Europe lost about 25% to 33% of its population. It can be deduced that because there was a lack of knowledge in science during those years, the disease was able to spread out faster.
The bacteria that caused the bubonic plague goes by the name of Yersina pestis. The process of how the disease came to people was through infected rats, which when they died the fleas that lived on them would jump feed off of humans - ultimately giving them the disease. Because there was a lack in science, chemistry, or medicine – the disease was able to spread rapidly and would kill about half a household’s inhabitants.
An honors chemistry student should open their mind to the many possibilities of science, and where it can take you. It is important that the study of Epidemiology be continued that way the patterns of diseases be studied carefully which could possibly lead to the cure, or containing of future outbreaks.

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