And I looked, and behold, a pale horse; and his name that sat on him was Death.
It has been said that every epidemic begins with a single case report. A single case report, however, could just be an anecdote, and most "clusters" turn out to be statistical artifacts.
One can make two types of errors: Type A --- overreacting to a false alarm like Chicken Little; and Type B --- ignoring a sentinel event and behaving like an ostrich.
To limit the mortality and morbidity if there really is an epidemic, we must investigate case reports dispassionately, following the evidence wherever it leads --- even if we must dare to question some sacred cows.
The word hygiene comes from Hygeia, the Greek goddess of health (photo, below), who was the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine. Since the advent of the Industrial Revolution (c.1750-1850) and the discovery of the germ theory of disease in the second half of the nineteenth century, hygiene and sanitation have been at the forefront of the struggle against illness and disease.(1)
Since the fall of the Western Roman Empire, there have been three major bubonic plague epidemics, which afflicted large segments of the population in the continuous Eurasian landmass and North Africa. Death quickly followed the trade routes of the times. The death toll is almost incomprehensible. The Plague of Justinian (6th Century A.D.), the Black Death (14th Century A.D.), and the Bubonic Plague (1665-1666, which coincided with the Great Fire of London) caused an estimated 137 million dead in a world much more sparsely populated than it is today.
In Part I of this essay, we discussed the secret epidemic of dengue fever, the Cuban gulag, and other aspects of Cuban medicine leading to a poor state of health in that Caribbean island, based on Dr. Dessy Mendoza Rivero's book ¡Dengue!-La Epidemia Secreta de Fidel Castro (Dengue! The Secret Epidemic of Fidel Castro).
Those in the United States who yearn for a more "egalitarian" and "equitable" system of medical care "like the one in Cuba" are not familiar with the extraordinary saga of Cuban physician Dr. Dessy Mendoza Rivero, who has managed to get the word out for anyone willing to listen. And they should. ¡Dengue!-La Epidemia Secreta de Fidel Castro (Dengue! The Secret Epidemic of Fidel Castro) is the title of his book and one that should be read attentively.
Those who yearn for a more "egalitarian" and "equitable" system of medical care "like the one in Cuba" are not familiar with the extraordinary saga of Cuban physician Dr. Dessy Mendoza Rivero. But they should be! "¡Dengue! La Epidemia Secreta de Fidel Castro," the title of his book, is one they should read. But they won't!