59 votes
Accepted

Are the social-distancing measures implemented against SARS-CoV-2 also suppressing the spread of other viruses?

Yes, this helps as well with other infectious diseases. A good example is the flu, which season was measurably shorter this year than in other years on record. See the figure from the reference 1 for ...
user avatar
  • 49.2k
50 votes
Accepted

Is there an advantage to antibacterial soap?

Short answer: There is no benefit for their use in households. Long answer: These soaps (see here for the complete list) contain the so called quaternary ammonium compounds Benzalkonium chloride and ...
user avatar
  • 49.2k
48 votes

Why do some viruses cease being a problem even though no vaccine or cure is found?

Infections spread in a population when the number of new infections caused by an infected person is greater than or equal to 1. If each infected person spreads the virus to less than 1 person, ...
user avatar
  • 36k
40 votes

Are the social-distancing measures implemented against SARS-CoV-2 also suppressing the spread of other viruses?

In addition to Chris' answer above, the effect is even more pronounced in Southern Hemisphere countries where flu season started during the pandemic. The New Zealand lockdown and health response ...
user avatar
37 votes

Why don't viruses reach broad concentration outdoors in a city like allergens?

2, 4, 5, and 6. 6 being that the UV light (from the sun), fluctuations in temperature, humidity, wind etc mean that the virions are decayed relatively rapidly for most virus species. To address (1): ...
user avatar
  • 6,918
36 votes

Is there a vaccine against the plague (Yersinia pestis)?

There is little motivation right now for vaccination against plague because: Human infections with plague are fairly rare. A vaccine administered to the general populace would have to be very cheap ...
user avatar
  • 36k
35 votes
Accepted

Are all emerging viral diseases of the past 100 years zoonoses?

To my knowledge, yes. A partial list of recently emerged/emerging viral diseases (I certainly could have missed some), with probable reservoir hosts: Chikungunya* (birds, rodents) coronaviruses (SARS ...
user avatar
  • 4,846
24 votes

Are all emerging viral diseases of the past 100 years zoonoses?

Hepatitis D emerged in the past 100 years, without being a zoonosis Hepatitis D is a virus which is able to replicate only in the presence of a hepatitis B co-infection. It causes the same symptoms ...
user avatar
  • 501
22 votes

Why don't viruses reach broad concentration outdoors in a city like allergens?

In another answer elsewhere on StackExchange, a poster estimated that there might be something like 100 g to 1 kg of SARS-CoV-2 virus worldwide, and that's an estimate of all the virus, including what ...
user avatar
  • 36k
17 votes
Accepted

Is COVID-19 claimed to get less deadly over time? If so, why?

While the data are much too sparse and noisy to give an answer about what is happening to COVID-19's virulence (the technical term for the "deadliness" of an infectious disease), or to forecast what ...
user avatar
  • 4,846
17 votes

Why do some viruses cease being a problem even though no vaccine or cure is found?

Bryan Krause's answer addresses the reasons pertinent to SARS and MERS. If you meant those two as examples but are interested in the title question more generally, I can note an additional mechanism. ...
user avatar
  • 271
16 votes

Is there a vaccine against the plague (Yersinia pestis)?

There is already plague vaccine in use, which is only administered to lab workers working on Y. Pestis or people residing in areas affected with plague. (Via: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/...
user avatar
15 votes
Accepted

To what extent is Ebola airborne? (aerosols)

Interesting question and hard to answer definitively. First of all: It seems still pretty clear that the major (and by far most important) infection route comes from direct contact with infected ...
user avatar
  • 49.2k
15 votes
Accepted

How exactly does alcohol solution kill or neutralize viruses?

Alcohols dissolve lipid bilayers Many viruses have an outer lipid bilayer. Ethanol lyses cells, and in the same fashion damages membrane-bound viruses by rupturing the bilayer (which is made of ...
user avatar
  • 5,670
14 votes

Is there an advantage to antibacterial soap?

Chris has correctly identified the antibacterial agent in the hand soap depicted in the image in the question, and therefore his answer is superior as a direct answer. Nevertheless, other members of ...
user avatar
  • 9,314
13 votes
Accepted

Why WHO has not eliminated chicken pox like smallpox?

Eliminating a virus from the world is an immensely costly undertaking. As with most things in real life, cost vs. benefit (and feasibility) need to be taken into account. Unfortunately, there is a ...
user avatar
12 votes

Why is the current Ebola outbreak different from previous outbreaks?

This is too long for a comment, so I put this in here: The main reasons are sociological. From the data I have read so far, this outbreak (actually these are two independent outbreaks, one in West-...
user avatar
  • 49.2k
12 votes
Accepted

How long does the Ebola virus remain infectious on contaminated items or surfaces?

This really depends on the environment, one study (listed below as reference 1) found that the Ebola virus can survive under ideal conditions on flat surfaces in the dark for up to six days - see the ...
user avatar
  • 49.2k
12 votes
Accepted

Why are bats the source of dangerous coronavirus pandemics?

The preponderance of links between bat and human pathogens has led to a debate about whether bats disproportionately contribute to emerging viral infections crossing the species barrier into humans (...
user avatar
  • 14.1k
11 votes

Why is the current Ebola outbreak different from previous outbreaks?

For some background, it is essential to know that Ebola is actually a group (genus) of ebolaviruses, each with different fatality rates. There are five known species of Ebola, and four are known to ...
user avatar
11 votes

Why are men more susceptible to severe COVID-19?

Update -- In the time since this question was asked, two relevant articles have been published, one in Nature Reviews Immunology and one in medRxiv (note: medRxiv is a preprint server and is therefore ...
user avatar
  • 7,564
10 votes

If ants have an antibiotic gland, how can they spread hospital infections?

I have worked in hospitals (US) most of my life, treating both community-acquired, and more pertinently to this question, nosocomial (hospital acquired) infections, and have read many articles on the ...
user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

Role of Prevalence in Estimating Coronavirus Mortality

I think you're talking (setting aside false-positive/low-specificity testing problems for the moment) about the difference between infection fatality ratio (IFR, fraction of infected people who die ...
user avatar
  • 4,846
9 votes
Accepted

Is COVID-19 more deadly than swine flu?

“Swine flu” is an obsolete name. The official name for the virus that was briefly called “swine flu” is “H1N1pdm09”. H1N1pdm09 has a mortality rate of around 0.01-0.1%. That’s roughly 10- to 20-...
user avatar
  • 14.1k
8 votes
Accepted

What causes a 'stuffy' or 'runny' nose when you have a cold?

There are different causes and mechanisms behind runny and stuffy nose. I cover them separately below. Runny nose My professor of pathoanatomy and pathophysiology says that the correct answer here ...
user avatar
8 votes

Why it is important to vaccinate a human newborn within 24 hours since birth?

In the US, infants are vaccinated against Hep B at birth and again a month or two later as well, because of the risk of maternal transmission. If the mother is known to be HepB positive, HBIG will ...
user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

how the coronavirus was distinguished?

This is basic epidemiology. When medical professionals notice that a group of people with some characteristic in common, are being seen for a similar disease, they ask if there's a connection. In this ...
user avatar
  • 14.1k
8 votes

If the covid-19 appeared once, could it reappear anytime?

Frame challenge answer: you are jumping to the conclusion that they really hope the virus will "die out". But it's more likely they adopted those measures to slow its progression to a manageable ...
user avatar
  • 3,032
8 votes

Why do some viruses cease being a problem even though no vaccine or cure is found?

And considering the title more broadly, We learn to live with them, manage the infections, and consider a significant death toll or other related injuries as "normal". For example, a measles ...
user avatar
  • 217
8 votes
Accepted

Can the Monkeypox virus be spread by mosquitoes?

As yet there are unlikely to have been any studies looking at this particular scenario with Monkeypox virus, as it hasn't been widely studied. However, the poxviridae are all similar in that they are ...
user avatar
  • 6,918

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible