Disease Eradication

Last Updated: January 1, 2023By


Since eliminating disease and improving health eventually helps ecosystems on a global scale, eliminating the disease is the golden grail for health professionals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has adopted initiatives like One Health that combine human health, animal health, and environmental considerations when handling disease prevention, treatment, and eradication. One Health examines how disease transmission is impacted by factors such as climate change, a rise in the number of people living in formerly uninhabited areas, an increase in interactions between people and animals, and widespread human and animal migration.

Only two diseases have been deemed officially eradicated by the World Health Organization to date: rinderpest and smallpox, both caused by the variola virus An ancient illness called smallpox caused epidemics throughout human history, leading to

Two diseases, smallpox and rinderpest, have been completely eradicated by the globe to date. How many more diseases could we possibly defeat?

Disease Eradication Determines Success:

The International Task Force for Disease Eradication’s list of diseases that can be eradicated serves as our main source of inspiration for this post. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funds ITFDE, which was established in 1988 at The Carter Center and provides guidance to organizations like the World Health Organization on several facets of disease eradication. 3

The table below lists the seven diseases that the ITFDE believes may be eradicable as well as the two diseases that have been eradicated worldwide.

4 Polio, Guinea worm disease, lymphatic filariasis, cysticercosis, measles, mumps, and rubella are among these illnesses. Because they meet the criteria for a disease, these conditions are regarded as eradicable diseases.

The disease will be more challenging to eradicate the more pathogens that cause it. When a disease is brought on by a small number of closely related diseases, eradication attempts frequently employ the same techniques and instruments. For instance, the same vaccination was used to prevent smallpox, which was brought on by two distinct variola viruses. Compare this to a condition like pneumonia, which can be brought on by a variety of pathogens, including bacteria and viruses, each of which has a unique course of therapy.

There is no doubt that smallpox had an impact on society at large. Numerous diseases, including polio, malaria, measles, and rubella, have been eliminated (such as smallpox and rinderpest) or are on WHO’s a list of diseases to be eliminated. However, disease incidence becomes increasingly locally confined as an illness gets closer to eradication. There are numerous effects of this phenomenon.

Disease Eradication

The benefits of the eradication efforts plateau in areas where there is no disease incidence as a disease becomes more locally restricted, while the societal, political, and economic costs remain constant. Nations that are no longer experiencing the disease’s effects can decide to reduce their support as a result. Polio encounters a similar challenge to the one that hampered the elimination of smallpox.

A more constrained geography has the advantage of making it easier to concentrate a campaign’s message on these areas. Some illnesses like yaws and dracunculiasis have never been geographically widespread