Vaccination

Four ways vaccine skeptics mislead on measles and more

Measles is on the rise in the United States. In the first quarter of this year, the number of cases was about 17 times what it was, on average, during the same period in each of the four years before, according to the Centers ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Monitoring the H5N1 avian influenza, bird flu, outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to actively monitor the ongoing outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza, also known as bird flu, and says that the public health risk remains low.

Medical economics

New analysis addresses homelessness in older people

Homelessness doesn't only happen to young people but also affects older adults in growing numbers, write authors in an analysis in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) that describes this emerging crisis.

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Public health

Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals." (1920, C.E.A. Winslow)[citation needed] It is concerned with threats to the overall health of a community based on population health analysis. The population in question can be as small as a handful of people or as large as all the inhabitants of several continents (for instance, in the case of a pandemic). Public health is typically divided into epidemiology, biostatistics and health services. Environmental, social, behavioral, and occupational health are also important subfields.

There are 2 distinct characteristics of public health:

1. It deals with preventive rather than curative aspects of health 2. It deals with population-level, rather than individual-level health issues

The focus of public health intervention is to prevent rather than treat a disease through surveillance of cases and the promotion of healthy behaviors. In addition to these activities, in many cases treating a disease may be vital to preventing it in others, such as during an outbreak of an infectious disease. Hand washing, vaccination programs and distribution of condoms are examples of public health measures.

The goal of public health is to improve lives through the prevention and treatment of disease. The United Nations' World Health Organization defines health as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."

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