Why germs thrive on planes— and how to stop them - Raymond Wang
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How do germs spread (and why do they make us sick)?
Germs are found on almost every surface we come in contact with, which makes it incredibly common for our bodies to be exposed to them. But why are some of these germs relatively harmless, while others can be fatal? Yannay Khaikan and Nicole Mideo explore this question by examining germs’ varying modes of transmission.
The surprising reason you feel awful when you’re sick
It starts with a tickle in your throat that becomes a cough. Your muscles begin to ache, you grow irritable, and you lose your appetite. It’s official: you’ve got the flu. It’s logical to assume that this miserable medley of symptoms is the result of the infection coursing through your body — but is that really the case? Marco A. Sotomayor explains what’s actually making you feel sick.
Why do you need to get a flu shot every year?
All year long, researchers at hospitals around the world collect samples from flu patients and send them to top virology experts with one goal: to design the vaccine for the next flu season. But why do we need a new one every year? Vaccines for diseases like mumps and rubella offer a lifetime of protection with two shots early in life; what’s so special about the flu? Melvin Sanicas explains.
How do viruses jump from animals to humans?
At a Maryland country fair in 2017, farmers reported feverish hogs with inflamed eyes and running snouts. While farmers worried about the pigs, the department of health was concerned about a group of sick fairgoers. Soon, 40 of these attendees would be diagnosed with swine flu. How can pathogens from one species infect another, and what makes this jump so dangerous? Ben Longdon explains.
Learning from smallpox: How to eradicate a disease
For most of human history, we have sought to treat and cure diseases. But only in recent decades did it become possible to ensure that a particular disease never threatens humanity again. Julie Garon and Walter A. Orenstein detail how the story of smallpox – the first and only disease to be permanently eliminated – shows how disease eradication can happen, and why it is so difficult to achieve.
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