Workshop on Infectious Diseases

From the 9th to the 13th of July, U.S. researchers will share their knowledge on infectious diseases with Panamanians scientists in a seminar-workshop organized by the Institute of Scientific Research and High Technology Services (INDICASAT), located at the City of Knowledge.

Infectious diseases are those caused by microorganisms (viruses, bacteria, protozoa, fungi) that are in the air, land or water, and can be acquired by breathing, touching, eating or drinking something contaminated with these pathogens. They can also be spread by animal excreta, insect bites, kissing and sexual contact.

According to National Institutes of Health from the United States, these diseases kill more people worldwide than any other single cause.

Recently, The Lancet Oncology published a study showing that infections with viruses, bacteria and parasites are risk factors for specific cancers.

Research shows that of the 12.7 million new cancer cases in 2008, infections caused an estimated 2 million cases, and 80% of them occurred in less developed areas of the world. That year, infections associated with human papillomavirus (HPV), Helicobacter pylori and hepatitis B and C caused 1.9 million cancers, particularly gastric, liver and cervical.

Today, with globalization, tourism and climate changes, which favor certain vectors, some infectious diseases are expanding their geographic range. In addition, there are microorganisms that have become resistant to antibiotics and medicines. All this poses new challenges for science, which seeks to develop new preventive techniques, diagnostics and treatments.

Tamara del Moral, La Prensa

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