The report by ABC News on mysterious disease that struck Japeri, “a small municipality on the outskirts of Rio” (ABC News, n.d.), has exerted a profoundly disturbing impression upon me. While I have previously read on the subject of occurrences of unknown and mysterious diseases in the remote regions of the globe, their exact consequences have never been brought down to me. The number of victims cited, as well as the apparent helplessness of the authorities in dealing with the malady, testifies to the extant problem of epidemic prevention, which would require concerted efforts of all interested parties.
According to ABC News (n.d.), the disease outbreak in Japeri led to 7 deaths, with 43 survivors remaining seriously ill. The mayor turned to the U.S. Center for Disease and Control Prevention for assistance, but this agency was unable to swiftly determine the nature of virus agent from the blood samples provided, and the investigation of the outbreak proved to be a lengthy case. At the same time, the suspicions were drawn to the absence of running water in the neighborhoods affected by the disease.
The account of events in Japeri shows that the abrupt beginning of the disease spread was followed by a series of deaths that have generally taken place in days after the disease being contracted. For instance, the first victim of the epidemics perished “five days after he was hospitalized” (ABC News, n.d.). Together with apparently high virulence of the disease, this example demonstrates the risks posed by the newly discovered viruses.
In my opinion, one should not underestimate the mutation capacities possessed by many viruses and bacteria, as the introduction of newer antibiotics is often countered with the emergence of new, more potent varieties of disease agents. This danger is often increased due to the lack of hygienic precautions, as it was apparently the case in Japeri. The absence of running water may have facilitated the spread of the disease in the respective neighborhoods, as the microbe agents would be easier to transmit in such environment.