The flu of 1918 killed more people than World War I. The Black Death (bubonic plague) was a leading cause of death during the middle ages. The ban on DDT and the resultant rebound of malaria has caused more death than Stalin and Mao and the Austrian corporal (may their memory and name be erased). History is filled with the tragedy caused by intentional and unintentional microorganism-caused deaths. Plans need to be made for dealing with disease vectors that can carry these microbes. Rodents can carry plague and many other pathogens, cats are good but may carry the pathogen from their prey into your home. Traps and poisons may get domestic animals or children. Mosquitoes may carry malaria and West Nile. Acquire mosquito netting, repellents, and bug lights (low power versions are available even battery powered.) People infected with any type of malaria other than P falciparum most likely can be treated with chloroquine (Aralen) or mefloquine (Lariam). Most people can tolerate these oral drugs. Or you may initially be treated with quinidine (Quinalan, Quinidex, Cardioquin, Duraquin), a related heart medication that also kills malarial parasites. P falciparum drug resistance to chloroquine is widespread, especially in Southeast Asia, South America, and East Africa (the latter spreading westward). Those infected with P falciparum malaria, or if the doctor does not know the specific type of malaria, are likely to be treated with IV quinine (Formula Q). Quinine bitters were initially popularized as a treatment for malaria last century, now quinine has become a prescription only medication in the last few years. The quinine levels in modern tonic water is below therapeutic values. Malaria was a scourge in both the southern and western USA. Wetlands laws have allowed mosquito breeding areas to remain but mass planting of eucalyptus can dry up some swamps.
Fleas, ticks, and lice carry Lyme disease, Bubonic plague and other diseases as well as opening the skin to infection. Pet dips, soaps, and repellents may be considered but watch for reactions or allergies. Massive consumption of garlic has been known to repel these parasites as well as mosquitoes in many humans and animals. Reductions in infrastructure and public health work from natural or man made disasters could cause a return of pestilence to first world nations. Be prepared!
JWR Adds: “David” is the pseudonym of SurvivalBlog’s volunteer correspondent in Israel. He is a former EMT, now a rabbinical student. Living in that troubled land gives him a a particularly insightful perspective. I greatly appreciate his posts!