08 - Mortality causes transition

08 - Mortality causes transition - SOCI 121 Population...

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SOCI 121: Population Problems M ORTALITY : W HAT C AUSES I T , AND H OW D OES IT T RANSITION ? Objectives: Discuss causes of mortality Discuss the mortality/epidemiological transition Class Notes: What Causes Death? There are three main reasons why people die: o 1) They are killed by diseases that can be transmitted from one person to another by infectious and parasitic diseases. o 2) They die from degenerative diseases. o 3) They are killed by products of the social and economic environment. Infectious and Parasitic Diseases o Infectious diseases have been the major cause of death for much of human history. These diseases are parasites that survive by feasting on the host. They are spread in different ways by different vectors, and have varying degrees of severity. o Malaria, for example, is typically spread by mosquitoes. Infectious diseases are usually either a virus or a bacterium. The plague, perhaps one of the most famous infectious diseases, is caused by the bacterium Yersina pestis , which lives mainly in flea- bitten rodents, especially wild ground squirrels and rats. o Infectious and parasitic diseases are far less important a cause of death in the US, Canada, and other developing societies now than they were in the past. However, the global spread of HIV/AIDS exploded on the scene in the early 1980s to become a worldwide pandemic. Acquired immunodeficiency virus (AIDS) is a deadly viral disease that has the potential to kill virtually everyone who develops its symptoms. That is, unless an infected person is treated with newly developed antiretroviral drugs that slows down the progression of the infection. o AIDS is not a single disease but rather a complex of diseases and symptoms whose underlying causes are still not fully understood. o AIDS kills by attacking the immune system and rendering the victim susceptible to various kinds of infections and malignancies that then tend to lead to death in a degenerative, disabling fashion. Although the spread of AIDS is preventable, especially by using condoms during intercourse and by not sharing needles to inject drugs, there is an incredibly high rate of infection in Sub-Saharan Africa. 1
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SOCI 121: Population Problems o In 2003, the prevalence of those living with AIDS was 7.5-8.5 percent of adults age 15-49 in Sub-Saharan Africa compared to a rate of 0.5-0.7 percent in North America. Scientists know that the disease has been around for decades, perhaps even centuries, in chimpanzees. o The transfer from chimpanzees to humans may have come from humans killing infected animals for food or possibly through use of animal blood for some magical ritual. Within 10 years after initial infection, it is estimated that 50 percent of HIV-infected persons will have developed AIDS symptoms.
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