In Brief... World News Review: Will Common Diseases One Day Collapse the Economies of the West?

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In Brief... World News Review

Will Common Diseases One Day Collapse the Economies of the West?

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In the current climate of constant threats of terrorist attacks, of anthrax scares and biotoxin fears, who could guess that a heat wave would hand France one of the greatest tragedies in its history? The official count is still unknown, but as of this writing, the death toll in France for the period of Aug. 1 to 15 was 11,435, and most victims were elderly. The country simply cannot afford to care for its senior citizens in the way that it should. Discussions are under way about the possibility of every worker donating one day’s wage per year (by working through a national holiday) to generate emergency funding.

Alzheimer’s will grow by 150 percent in the United Kingdom by 2050. By the same date, the number of people with Alzheimer’s in the United States could reach 300 percent of today’s numbers—that’s up to 16 million Americans. This projection, based upon U.S. census data, comes from the Rush Institute on Healthy Aging.

Sheldon Goldberg, president and CEO of the U.S. Alzheimer’s Association, warned: “If we don’t find answers soon, it will be devastating on multiple fronts.” Unless advances in research produce effective treatments, the Rush Institute declared that the projected increase is enough to bankrupt the American Medicare system.

Meanwhile, in China economists blame the 3.7 percent shrinkage in Hong Kong’s gross domestic product for the second quarter of the year on the SARS outbreak. Toronto also lost tens of millions of dollars in tourism revenues when the World Health Organization declared the city unsafe, due to a lengthy period of uncontained SARS infections there.

SARS is a pneumonia-like virus, believed to have “jumped” from animals to humans in the Guangdong province of China, where the illness claimed hundreds of victims. Recent investigations in the province revealed the presence of a variation of SARS in several test animals, as well as some healthy people. The people may not become ill themselves, but they are carriers of the disease.

Apart from the possibility of the introduction of a new strain of SARS, scientists are warning that the regional strain will most likely reappear when the next flu season begins.

The flu itself could become a bioterror weapon. Scientists from the University of Texas Health Science Center say that commonly known information from the genome of the 1918 flu epidemic could be used to create an even more deadly strain than that one, which took the lives of 20 to 40 million people.

Even in our modern world of advanced technology and medical science, we are ever vulnerable to common diseases. We need to be mindful of the fact that good health is a blessing from God, one that we cannot afford to take for granted. There is a direct correlation between our respect for and application of God’s laws and the prosperity of our countries. As America rushes to distance itself from God’s great laws, we would do well to take heed of His sober words in Leviticus 26:14-16 Leviticus 26:14-16 14 But if you will not listen to me, and will not do all these commandments; 15 And if you shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that you will not do all my commandments, but that you break my covenant: 16 I also will do this to you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.
American King James Version×
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“But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments, and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart.”

ABC News , Agence France-Presse , BBC .

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