Epidemics and Disease

US drug executives testify before Congress on opioid crisis

By Brian Dixon, 10 May 2018

The drug company heads shed crocodile tears over the opioid epidemic they helped create, including by shipping large numbers of opioids to pill mills in West Virginia.

Zika, social inequality and capitalism

By Bill Van Auken, 15 April 2016

The criminal indifference of the US Congress to the spread of the Zika virus stands as an indictment of a social system that subordinates the vital needs of humanity to the accumulation of wealth by a tiny oligarchy.

Ebola in America

By Andre Damon, 16 October 2014

The incompetent and irresponsible response to the Ebola crisis in the US stands as an indictment of the American political establishment.

Who is responsible for the Ebola virus case in Spain?

By Kelly Taylor, 16 October 2014

Last Friday, nurses protested against the risks they face in treating Ebola patients.

World Health Organization declares public health emergency over spread of polio

By Tom Hall, 8 May 2014

Pakistan, Cameroon, and Syria were singled out as posing the greatest risk of exporting the virus in 2014.

Largest tainted meat recall in Canadian history

By Vic Neufeld, 24 October 2012

E. coli bacterial contamination originating at an XL Foods’ meat processing plant in Brooks, Alberta has seriously sickened sixteen people and prompted the largest meat product recall in Canadian history.

As Washington state health care options dwindle, whooping cough returns

By Christine Schofelt, 24 May 2012

Cases of whooping cough have reached epidemic proportions in Washington State under conditions where health care services have been cut drastically.

Bird flu scientists respond to media hysteria, suspend critical research

By Nicholas Russo, 10 February 2012

The investigators discovered how a mutation of the deadly virus could lead to its airborne transmission between human beings.

Totally drug-resistant tuberculosis reported in Mumbai

By Debra Watson, 27 January 2012

Doctors in Mumbai, India’s largest city, reported in December that they had confirmed four cases of Totally Drug Resistant Tuberculosis.

Listeria outbreak claims 15 lives in US

By Naomi Spencer, 3 October 2011

In the deadliest food poisoning outbreak in the US in over a decade, at least 15 people have died of listeriosis linked to Colorado-grown cantaloupes.

Australia to shut northern TB clinics

By John Mackay, 29 September 2011

The planned closures have been strongly condemned by Australian health professionals and the World Health Organisation who fear that it will lead to an increase in multi-drug resistant or MDR-TB, already prevalent in PNG.

Thousands sickened, dozens dead in E. coli outbreak in Germany

By Andrew Reiss and Patrick Martin, 10 June 2011

The outbreak is the most serious in at least 20 years.

New “super bug” threatens Australian hospitals

By John Mackay, 19 May 2011

Despite warnings by health professionals, no national surveillance system has been introduced for the potentially fatal Clostridium difficile bacteria.

Tuberculosis: Canadian Arctic tragedy, growing global threat

By Jack Miller, 16 February 2011

The startling incidence of tuberculosis among the native population—especially the Inuit—of Canada, one of the world’s most affluent countries, is the product of a long and continuing history of injustice.

Previously eradicated diseases reemerge in US

By Ryan Rahilly, 4 February 2011

The re-emergence of diseases like pertussis, tuberculosis, measles and mumps in the US is an expression of the dangers posed by failing infrastructure and declining living standards for the working class.

Cholera outbreak kills dozens in Papua New Guinea

By Zac Hambides, 27 November 2010

The main concern of the Australian government has been to close its borders with PNG, while providing minimal aid to the people of its former colonial possession.

Cholera outbreak kills dozens in Papua New Guinea

By Zac Hambides, 27 November 2010

The main concern of the Australian government has been to close its borders with PNG, while providing minimal aid to the people of its former colonial possession.

Haiti cholera epidemic reaches Port-au-Prince

By Tom Eley, 26 October 2010

At least five cases of cholera have been confirmed in Port-au-Prince, a week after the epidemic emerged in central Haiti. By Monday evening the national death toll was reported to be 259.

Cholera epidemic kills 150 in Haiti

By a reporter, 23 October 2010

The outbreak of disease is the worst since last January’s devastating earthquake, which killed 250,000 people and left another 1.5 million homeless.

Dramatic increase in HIV infections in Eastern Europe

By Markus Salzmann, 10 August 2010

The spread of HIV/Aids is directly related to the destruction of the health system and social infrastructure carried out at the beginning of the 1990s in the name of the free market.

As “free market” fails to deliver enough vaccine

Obama declares US national emergency over H1N1 flu

By Tom Eley, 26 October 2009

Major pharmaceuticals that contracted with the US government to provide vaccines against the swine flu have delivered only a fraction of what was anticipated, leaving thousands to wait in lines for a chance to be vaccinated.

Swine flu infections spread to 160 countries

By Perla Astudillo, 13 August 2009

According to the World Health Organisation, the swine-origin influenza virus has spread to 160 countries in less than four months.

Australia: Coroner finds caesarean death was “preventable”

By Laura Tiernan, 14 July 2009

A coronial inquest has found that Rebecca Murray, a 29-year-old mother who died following a caesarean delivery at Bathurst Base Hospital in regional New South Wales, died from preventable causes.

Australian governments downplay mounting swine flu cases

By Frank Gaglioti, 6 July 2009

The confirmed swine flu cases in Australia climbed above 3,500 this week, with more than 150 patients hospitalised. By July 1, nine people had died due to complications after contracting the infection.

Danger of major swine flu outbreak continues

By Perla Astudillo, 12 May 2009

The current swine flu virus may not mutate into a more dangerous form and the danger will then subside. Scientists, however, remain concerned that the virus is poorly understood and may be susceptible to mutation.

Media sensationalism, corporate power and the swine flu outbreak

By Alex Lantier, 4 May 2009

The handling of the swine flu outbreak underscores the difficulty, in the present political environment, of separating medical science from corporate interests and the political agendas of governments that are beholden to them.

Politics and economics dominate response to swine flu epidemic

By David Walsh and Sean South, 30 April 2009

The outbreak of a swine flu epidemic that threatens to assume global proportions is exposing the disastrous consequences of the subordination of all aspects of social life to the capitalist market and the competing interests of nationally-based corporate elites.

Mexico: Epidemic deepens the social crisis

By Bill Van Auken, 30 April 2009

With the death toll in Mexico’s swine flu epidemic having risen to at least 159, measures taken to halt the spread of the disease are deepening the country’s economic slump. Meanwhile, criticism of the government’s handling of the crisis is growing.

Zimbabwe: Cholera death toll rises

By Chris Talbot, 30 December 2008

The cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe has now infected up to 24,000 people with nearly 1,200 deaths, according to the official figures from UNICEF.

Rates of hospital-acquired infection rising in Canada

By John MacKay, 29 December 2008

A study, based on a survey of Canadian hospitals, has found that hospital-acquired infection rates continue to rise and that for want of funding, infection-control programs continue to fall well short of expert recommendations.

Britain: New wave of human BSE/vCJD feared

By Barry Mason, 27 December 2008

Britain faces the spectre of a second wave of deaths from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease vCJD as a result of people, overwhelmingly young adults, consuming meat from cattle infected with BSE, or Mad Cow Disease.

WHO report discloses extent of global health inequality

By Barry Mason, 25 September 2008

In August the World Health Organisation (WHO) published a report, “Closing the gap in a generation: Health equity through action on the social determinants of health.”

Stockholm conference told 1 billion people without access to safe water

By Barry Mason, 10 September 2008

World Water Week, attended by around 2,500 scientists, government and civil society representatives from 140 countries, took place in Stockholm last month. It was held under the auspices of the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI).

Millions affected by flooding in India and Nepal

Official neglect

By W.A. Sunil, 4 September 2008

Severe flooding in India and Nepal over the past fortnight has affected millions of people and left hundreds of thousands homeless, with little in the way of assistance from government authorities.