diarrheal disease

Things I wonder about: Harry Potter edition

Magical illnesses.

Why do some illnesses only affect witches and wizards? Dragon Pox, for one. How is it that only magical folk get it? Is there some mutation in the DNA that allows for magic that also makes you susceptible to new diseases? Have wizards looked into this connection? Are there magical illness vaccines? Is there a Wizarding CDC? How did these diseases originate? Is St. Mungo’s the only hospital in the whole of wizarding England? Do you have to go to Wizarding Medical School? Are there Wizarding scientists who study the links between illness and magical ability? Can Squibs get wizarding illnesses? How do they discover cures? Do they just experiment with spells and potions or are there laboratories where the organisms are studied? How do the organisms spread and proliferate? What characteristics do they have? Are they harmless to muggles, or invisible entirely? How do these illnesses survive when most of the world’s population is non-magical? Are they gram-negative or positive? Are they even vector-borne diseases or just spells and hexes that somehow took on a life of their own???

Nonmagical illnesses.

Do wizards get colds? The flu? Are magical children vaccinated? Are wizards and witches even susceptible to the same diseases muggles can contract? Does the wizarding gene negate some diseases but cause a susceptibility to others? Do wizards have to take their children to the hospital? Do the healers at St. Mungos know how to medically treat life-threatening diarrheal diseases in infants, or do they just cure it with a spell/potion? Is there anyone educating young wizards and witches about STDs? Do they even need to? How do basic health systems work in the wizarding community?????


How do muggle-borns with ‘visible” disabilities function at/after Hogwarts? Do they get magical cures? If so, what do they tell their friends and family back home? How do you explain suddenly not needing a wheelchair after years of paralysis? Do they refuse the cure because their disabled friends back home won’t have access to the same cure and they morally object to lying to them about their “treatment?” Are wizards and witches just immune to birth defects and visible disabilities? What about deaf or blind witches/wizards? Do they exist? Are they just automatically cured whenever parents realize their child is blind or deaf? Are there wheelchair ramps at Hogwarts? Do physically disabled muggleborns use magical interventions at school and then go back to muggle treatments at home? HOW DOES THIS WORK???????????

Battling Cholera in Freetown, Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone’s capital. Freetown, is currently struggling to contain a cholera outbreak that has affected over 1,500 people and killed at least 17 to date. MSF, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, is already running three cholera treatment units in the city and has treated more than 500 patients. Because the number of people infected continues to grow, however, MSF plans to open two additional treatment facilities up in the next 10 days.

“We are moving quickly to increase our capacity to handle all the new patients that will arrive,” says Karen Van den Brande, MSF head of mission in Sierra Leone. “Our present cholera treatment facilities are stretched to the limit with patients. The patients that we see are of all ages, so it’s not just children or already weak people that are at risk.”

Photo: Cholera patients at Marcauley cholera treatment unit in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone © Florence Demeulin/MSF


Mats Hummels about “we run for UNICEF”

“As a footballer, I know the importance of a common goal. If all do their best, you can even become world champion! With your application  we can support the children their projects and  school and help children in developing countries. there are children dying and there are still many because they wash and drink unclear water.But together with UNICEF, we can do something about it - build wells and provide better hygiene. Only wash your hands with soap prevents half of all diarrheal diseases. I am very happy that I can be part of this great action. ”

mats hummels about  exercise : “i can’t imagine life with out it . Exercise promotes team spirit, strengthens the body and mind, will keep us together across cultural boundaries. I believe in the power of sport and the fact that we can move together much for kids - that’s why I support the action "we run for UNICEF" 

An Escalating Health Crisis in South Sudan

Women and children wait in line to gather water at an MSF-run tap point in Doro camp. Supplying refugees with safe water has been a challenge since they started arriving. Heavy rains have further jeopardizing the supply of clean water and caused widespread flooding in the camps.

Since November 2011, MSF has been operating emergency programs in South Sudan for tens of thousands of refugees who fled violence in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile States. MSF has field hospitals in five refugee camps in Unity and Upper Nile states in South Sudan (Batil, Doro, Jamam, Yida, and Gendrassa). However, resources in the camps are stretched extremely thin, and the humanitarian crisis is only worsening as more refugees arrive. Heavy rains have exacerbated the situation, flooding camps and leaving refugees—many of whom have already endured the journey from Sudan on foot—vulnerable to diseases like diarrhea, malaria, and cholera.

Photo: South Sudan 2012 © Nichole Sobecki

Voice From the Field: Tackling Haiti’s Cholera Epidemic

Joan Arnan, MSF Head of Mission in Haiti, has been working in Haiti for five months, coordinating MSF’s response to the cholera epidemic that has been sweeping the country since October 2010. Here, Arnan explains the response and discusses the difficulties faced by the Haitian Ministry of Health and its international partners in responding to the epidemic.

Failures in the epidemiological surveillance system make it impossible to deploy an adequate response in strategic locations, and the dearth of cholera treatment services in national health facilities—along with the withdrawal of several nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) following a decrease in international funding—are hampering the national response to the epidemic. An MSF staff member educates outpatients about cholera at Léogâne hospital

Haiti 2011 © Yann Libessart/MSF