Assignment: Epidemiological Triangle
Plague, like any other disease, has to have an agent, a host, and an environment. This is what makes up the epidemiological triad. In a developing country like Madagascar, everything comes together for a disease like plague to strike. When there is an outbreak, it is not stopped quickly due to the poor healthcare system in Madagascar.
A casual agent is referred to as an organism that is capable of causing disease (Stanhope and Lancaster, 2016). Casual agents can be fungi, viruses, bacteria, or parasites. Plague is caused by a bacteria, Yersinia pestis, and is usually first spread through fleas from infected rodents. A person is bitten by the flea from the infected rodent and is then infected with the disease themselves.
Plague can affect anyone who comes into contact with it; however, according to the World Health Organization “Plague is a disease of poverty. It thrives in places with poor sanitary conditions and inadequate health services” (2017). In 2017, Madagascar ranked as the 10th poorest country in the world (Tasch, 2017). In a region as poor as this, it is easy for a disease such as plague to thrive. People live in unsanitary conditions and do not have the money to seek treatment if they do get sick.
Environmental factors can facilitate the transmission of an infected agent and are related to patients biological, physical, cultural, and social factors (Stanhope and Lancaster, 2016). The plague outbreak in 2017 was originally brought on by a 31-year old man who was bitten by an infected flea. He boarded a bus to travel across the country, and along the way his symptoms worsened and he eventually died in transit. This man not knowing that he was infected with plague led to everyone in contact with him on the bus contracting plague. The CDC recommends reducing the rodent habitat around your home or place of work, to wear gloves when skinning or coming into contact with animals that could be infected, and to use repellent when you could be exposed to rodent fleas such as when hiking outdoors.
Role of the Nurse
The nurse’s role is to aid in protecting the public from an infectious disease outbreak. It is our job as nurses to educate the public on how to prevent this disease and to seek proper medical care when displaying symptoms of plague. Nurses are responsible for working with health officials to monitor and respond to an outbreak. To properly respond to an outbreak, nurses must be educated on the disease, be competent in caring for those that are infected, and must follow government regulations. Lastly, it is the nurse’s role to assist in surveillance and investigation of the outbreak.
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