Top Public Health Risks

Header - Top Public Health Risks

The following infographic (and called-out stats) are from an organization that bills itself as The Authority for Master’s in Public Health Degrees.

Top public health risks


1/10,000 Americans will be murdered or commit suicide using a gun this year.

3.59 per 100,000 Americans murdered with gun, and 6.3 per 100,000 Americans commit suicide by firearm.
That’s 50.5% of all suicides! (reduced to 1/10,000).
Gun violence is a massive risk to public health, and your odds of being assaulted with a firearm is 1/2000.

Smallpox: a timeline

  • Pre-1798: Smallpox swept across continents killing 30% of infected.
  • 60-85% of survivors have deep scars across their body and face.
  • 1798: Inoculation with cowpox was discovered as protection.
  • 1960-1980: World Health Campaign to eradicate smallpox.
  • Today: Smallpox no longer occurs naturally, but it can be used as a biological weapon.

Untreatable: Drug-resistant illnesses

  • 23,000 deaths due to drug resistant illnesses last year. Most in hospitals and nursing homes.
  • Most at risk:
    • Cancer Chemotherapy
    • Complex Surgery
    • Rheumatoid Arthritis
    • Dialysis for Renal Disease
    • Organ and Bone Marrow Transplants
  • Staph-MRSA
  • 30% of the population live with staph in their nose or on their skin.
  • Staph “colonizes” 30% of the population and lives in their nose or on their skin.
  • It’s passed to others through open wounds.
  • If not completely cured morphs into drug resistant MRSA

West Nile Virus is incredibly resilient

  • 1937: Discovered Uganda
  • 1999: Transferred to New York
  • 1999-2013: 37,000 cases, 4% fatality rate
  • 2013: Spread across entire U.S.
  • How it works: Infected mosquito bites swell your brain.And you die.

Chagas Disease is in 20-60% of mammals in US urban ecosystems

  • A parasite that kills 50,000 yearly in Latin America

Obesity, the silent killer

  • 35.7% of American Adults are Obese, costing $3.91 more in medical costs per day.
  • That’s $27.41 more a week, $109.62 more a month, and $1,429 more a year than healthy weight adults.
  • Obesity has exploded in America:
  • 1991:
    • No data states: NV,NB,KS
    • 10% states:GA,WA,MOnt, UT, CO,NM
    • 10-14% states:All other states
    • 15-19% states:MI,WV,LA,MS
  • 2010:
    • 20-24% states:AL,CA,NV,AZ,UT,CO,MI,NY,VT,RI,NJ,DE
    • 30% states: Everything else

Smoking is the single largest preventable danger to the U.S. people
With 443,000 people dying from second hand smoke or smoking every year, or nearly 50 an hour, and 8.6 million living with serious illnesses due to smoking, (that’s 1/36.5 Americans, OF ALL AGES); Good thing smoking is slowly decreasing.
By year, number of current smokers, total–both gender

Total Change = -51.4%

The CDC is preparing a comprehensive plan for Climate Change

  1. Increased temperatures = increased cardiovascular and respiratory disease
  2. Heat = more ground level ozone=direct harm to lungs (asthma, COPD).
  3. Droughts= concentration of contaminated water/ shortage of water = food shortages
  4. Migration of pathogen bearing organisms
  5. Coastal flooding = loss of infrastructure, structural collapse interruption of healthcare, Drowning, and Soil Ph changes hurting agriculture.
  6. CO2 concentrations in salt water = More acidic seas and destruction of fisheries
  7. 147,000 people died worldwide last year from climate, meteorological and hydrological events. It’s a big deal.

There are a massive range of bioterror threats
Category A
– Easily spread from person to person
– Massive casualty rate
– Disruption of healthcare system
– Mass panic
Examples: Anthrax, Smallpox, Plague
Category B
– Moderately easy to spread
– Moderate morbidity, low mortality rates
Examples: Ricin, viruses, salmonella , mosquito borne illnesses
Category C
– Ease of production and dissemination
– If disseminated en masse cause massive mortality
Examples: Tick borne illnesses, Nipah Virus, Yellow Fever, Drug resistant tuberculosis

In complex societies, public health risks can affect us all. Take precautions, support infrastructure and education.