Giving Avian Flu a lesson in numeracy

When showing deadly viruses and diseases who’s boss, the general consensus is to get all heavy handed with them. But fighting fire with fire won’t be found anywhere near the handbook of an Epidemiologist. You see they use the power of maths to get the job done instead.

Still need a little convincing? Alright then take Exhibit A, Avian Flu. Also known as bird flu to many, Avian Flu can usually be found squatting in wild birds and when passed on to chickens and ducks it makes its point by getting all nasty. The greater fear is when Avain Flu decides to mutate and then come knocking on people’s doors.

And this is where Epidemiologists stick their numeracy skills on the line. As we speak they’re using computer models to get their heads round why Avian spreads and who’s most at risk. These predictions are then shouted across to governments who then know how to react in the event of pandemic.

Get an even bigger picture by steering your eyes this way:http://www.who.int/csr/don/2006_06_30/en/index.html

Numbers people aren’t one trick ponies either. It was these people who also made the connection between smoking and cancer, and provided the stats of how many millions are being killed daily by smoking.

There’s definitely a lot more to maths than meets the eye.

Understand and combat some of the world’s largest health issues with the following careers:

  • An epidemiologist, looking at how diseases affect different sections of the population, how infectious diseases spread, and finding out clues to the cause of non-infectious diseases
  • general practitioner (GP) – informing patients on the best ways to maintain their health, and advising them on the best vaccinations available to them
  • medical receptionist, dealing with concerned patients and ensuring a GP’s practice runs smoothly at busy times
  • microbiologist, studying new diseases causes by bacteria or viruses, testing new drugs, and helping prevent contagious diseases
  • pathologist, looking at the cause of diseases and testing for certain diseases in patients
  • An economist – looking at how discoveries made about the spread and prevention of diseases will affect the economy, and the best way to spend money to maximise the health of everyone
  • press officer – working for a pharmaceutical firm making announcements about new medical discoveries
  • health education specialist – working with the press, television and radio to produce information for the public about health issues