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Impact of Infectious Diseases on the Economy

By Sarah Shewayish, MD

June 16th, 2020

Dr. Shewayish shows how public health is an essential component of economic prosperity. This is at no time more a poignant argument than in the midst of the current pandemic, where it is clear that the key to economic recovery is to vanquish the coronavirus outbreak. As we have seen in the Spring and early Summer of 2020, infectious diseases can affect a large swath of the business sector, from agriculture, to manufacturing, transportation, hospitality/travel, and many others. Some industries may have a business model that is incompatible with an infection outbreak. Others may ride the wave of increased demand that occurs as a result of the disease’s impact on society. A disease outbreak may also cause individuals to withdraw from the economy due to fear, job loss, or reduced services. Investing in public health is an endeavor that pays countless dividends. As the pandemic shows, societies around the world need to do more to invest in the health of their populations and in preparing for the next outbreak that may impact us.

Update on Current Therapies for COVID-19

By Greg Teo, MD

June 9th, 2020

Dr. Teo presents a thorough review of the currently available treatment options for COVID-19 disease. He begins by summarizing the evidence for available antiviral treatment options. Next, he discusses the available data for several pharmacologic support therapies currently under investigation. Lastly, he presents the NIH and/or IDSA recommendations regarding those therapies. Therapies discussed include hydroxychloroquine, remdesivir, HIV protease inhibitor, Favipiravir, Tocilizumab, interferons, and others. Dr. Teo also looks at convalescent plasma and its promising role in certain patients with severe COVID-19.

Neglected Tropical Diseases

By Cody Horn, MD

May 22nd, 2020

Dr. Horn reviews several important tropical diseases, including Chagas disease (caused by Trypanosoma cruzii), spread by the Triatomid bug, African Trypanosomiasis, the cause of sleeping sickness, Cystercercosis, caused by the Pork tapeworm, and Buruli ulcer. He closes by discussing Onchocerciasis and its effect on significant areas of the developing world.

COVID-19 and the Spanish Flu: Two Pandemics, One Century

By Ana Velez, MD

May 15th, 2020

Dr. Velez compares and contrasts the two pandemics capping the last one-hundred years. She presents an in-detail look at the 1918 Influenza pandemic with a focus on its history and epidemiology. She then contrasts the current COVID-19 pandemic and concludes by comparing both in a thoughtful and insightful manner.

Coronavirus Myths: Separating Fact from Fiction

By Richard L. Oehler, MD

May 6th, 2020

With the help of the popular online web site Snopes.com, and a hint of inspiration from the “Mythbusters,” Dr Oehler reviews contemporary myths and online conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and the SARS 2 Coronavirus. The author tackles such myths as whether government statistics about coronavirus deaths are accurate, predictions that the pandemic would occur in 2020, and whether coronavirus can be transmitted through packages, food, and pets. Dr. Oehler concludes by looking at one of the most enduring of COVID-19 questions. Did the virus originate in a bioweapons lab or in nature?

The Immune System: A Double Edged Sword

By Carlos Lopez-Perez, MD

April 27th, 2020

Dr. Perez-Lopez discusses the association of certain infectious diseases as a factor in the development of cancer. These so-called “oncogenic” microorganisms can induce both solid organ and bone-marrow-related malignancies through a variety of mechanisms. Among the oncogenic viruses, Epstein Barr Virus, Human Papilloma Virus, and the Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C viruses are well-known causes of cancer, causing EBV lymphoma, cervical cancer, and hepatocellular cancers, respectively. But bacterial infections can also induce malignancies, as Helicobacter pylori’s association with MALT lymphoma demonstrates. In addition, the speaker explains, as we understand the pathogenic mechanisms behind many bacterial agents (e.g., Pseudomonas), we are learning ways we can use their infectious potential as a treatment mechanism against certain medical conditions. Dr. Perez-Lopez closes his talk by discussing how the oncogenic potential of viruses is now an emerging weapon in our therapy against many diseases. By utilizing their ability to incorporate their genome into cells, certain viruses are a potent tool in gene therapy via genetic modification.

Opioids and Infectious Diseases: The Dual Epidemic

By Zola Nlandu, MD

April 20th, 2020

Dr. Nlandu focuses on the opioid epidemic, and the increasing prevalence of Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) in American society. He begins by looking at the epidemiology of the opioid epidemic, including how pharmaceutical manufacturer-centered initiatives to promote increased awareness of pain and misinformation about the addictive potential of opiates led to increased prescribing by providers. Over time, this led to misuse of opiate products and the declaration of a public health emergency by HHS in 2017. He then defines opiate use disorder and discusses how to identify patients at risk for the syndrome. Next, Dr. Nlandu relates how patients with OUD are at risk for the development of a variety of infectious diseases, including bacterial and viral disorders. He discusses opiates and HIV, Opiates and Hepatitis B and C, and opiates and bacteremia and endocarditis. Dr. Nlandu also touches upon the administration of outpatient antibiotic therapy in patients with IV drug use history. Lastly, Dr. Nlandu mentions needle exchange programs and the application for an MAT waiver to treat patients with opioid use disorder.

The 1918 Flu Pandemic

By Edward Drehs, MD

April 1st, 2020

Dr. Edward Drehs reviews the history of the 1918 Flu pandemic. He begins by discusses the events that led up to the outbreak, including World War I and other mass migration events. Then he relates the efforts instituted to try to contain the epidemic, similar to some of the control measures utilized today for Coronavirus. Next, he analyzes the consequences and lessons learned from the pandemic. Lastly, he evaluates the societal responses to the 1918 flu in comparison to the current outbreak.

COVID-19 Update

By John Greene, MD

March 18th, 2020

Dr. John Greene, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, summarizes what is known about the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). He looks at the diseases origins, its transmissibility, risk factors associated with severe disease, and its typical presentation. Dr. Greene also discusses how cancer treatment may be affected in the current pandemic. He closes by discussing diagnostic options, treatment, and the potential for a vaccine.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19): A Pandemic Looms

By Seetha Lakshmi, MD

February 24th, 2020

Dr. Seetha Lakshmi, Associate Professor and Infectious Diseases Physician at the University of South Florida, presents an overview of this novel pathogen. Responsible for a December 2019 outbreak originating in China’s Hubei province, the virus has now been responsible for thousands of deaths and has spread to multiple countries outside of China with recent outbreaks in South Korea, Japan, and Iran, and Italy. Dr. Lakshmi begins her talk by describing the epidemiology of Coronaviruses, which can range from simple causes of the common cold to deadly infections like SARS. She then describes the pathophysiology of how the virus causes respiratory disease and the means by which it is spread. She discusses how misinformation can easily propagate about COVID-19 in our modern connected world. She closes by describing what the future likely holds for COVID-19 Coronavirus transmission in the West, the U.S, and states like Florida.