Ebola: Why is it so bad? (Part 5)

This article continues a series of posts examining non-biological factors contributing to the Ebola crisis’s severity. This week, we’ll look at poverty. This may seem like a “no, duh” factor, but the effects of poverty on transmission rates extend beyond just lack of access to healthcare or lack of sanitation, two common explanations for outbreaks of disease in conditions of poverty.

I found these surprising observations in the PlosOne article The Impact of Economic Crises on Communicable Disease Transmission and Control: A Systematic Review of the Evidence.
+ Increased cortisol levels from stress and poor nutrition can hamper immunity, worsening the spread of disease.
+ Impoverished living conditions beget higher rates of infectious contact. The day-to-day lifestyles caused by economic conditions of poverty, namely crowded living and working conditions (not just sanitation issues), are a boon to disease transmission.

Although, this factoid from that report is not Ebola-related, I couldn’t resist throwing in in as well…

One study found that mortgage foreclosures in the Californian housing market in California in 2007 caused homes with swimming pools to be abandoned, increasing breeding habitats for mosquitoes. This was linked to an unexpectedly early seasonal increase in West Nile Virus cases

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