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Wanted: Disease Detectives

Scott LaFee on

The COVID-19 pandemic isn't necessarily the cause, but it has revealed a current shortage in epidemiologists -- scientists trained to search for the cause of disease, identify people who are at risk and determine how to control or stop the spread.

A new report surveying health departments in 30 U.S. cities found 177 open positions for epidemiologists last year, up from 83 in 2017. (FYI: Salary.com says the average salary for an epidemiologist in the U.S. is $100,805.)

Body of Knowledge

The temples of your head mark a juncture of four skull bones coming together: the frontal, parietal, temporal and splenoid. The juncture is covered by the temporal muscle, which is used during chewing. The words temple and temporal, at least in the context of anatomy, derive the Latin word tempus, meaning time. They are applied here because hair covering this portion of the head is often the first to turn gray during aging, indicating the passage of time.

Get Me That, Stat!

Some public health experts are optimistic that rubella, a contagious disease sometimes called German measles, may be eradicated in the foreseeable future. The disease normally causes a rash and illness milder than the measles, except in pregnant women, where it can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth or serious birth defects.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization report that 89% of countries around the world now provide vaccine coverage against rubella and 48% have ended rubella transmission. Twenty-one countries, however, have yet to add the rubella vaccine to their immunization schedules.

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