In the first episode of BBC historical drama Wolf Hall, based on Hilary Mantel’s novel of the same name, Thomas Cromwell returns home to find his wife and two daughters have all died during the night, victims of a pestilence – the "sweating sickness" – that is scything through the Tudor world.
Influenza is a global health problem that affects 3-5m people a year and causes fatalities among the very old, the very young, and those with existing medical conditions. The virus spreads through contact. When we look at people’s social networks, an inter-connected web emerges that can help disease spread.
The UK has just recorded its second visitation of bird flu in less than three months. At the end of November, the relatively new subtype H5N8 – which was first spotted in late 2009 in China and which has since made its way westwards as far as the Netherlands – turned up in Yorkshire.
When people look back on 2014, it may be best remembered as the year of Ebola. Two previous assumptions – that the virus was confined to remote regions of central Africa, and that the notorious virulence of the disease acted as a kind of self-limiting factor, with epidemics always burning themselves out after their initial flare-up – were shattered.
It’s that time of the year again. You probably think I mean Christmas, but as a virologist the sight of glitter, fairy lights and moulting pine trees immediately makes me think of the flu season. And if there’s one thing that can ruin your family’s Christmas, it’s the arrival of that particular unwanted guest.
Mental health services for children and adolescents in the UK are beset by “serious and deeply ingrained problems”.
This morning you woke up feeling a little unwell. You have no appetite, your head is aching, your throat is sore and you think you might be slightly feverish. You don’t know it yet, but Ebola virus has started to attack your immune system, wiping out the T-lymphocyte cells that are crucial to its proper function.
Imagine you’re at University and you have your first manic episode. You think you are just partying too hard but things get out of control - you can’t sleep and your thoughts are racing. You are admitted to hospital and told you have Bipolar Disorder.
On virtually all international indices of development, hospices in the United Kingdom are highly rated except in relation to research. A new report from a team based at the International Observatory on End of Life Care has found that British hospices are not contributing sufficiently to the evidence-base in palliative care for a number of reasons.
One way to reduce the crisis in mental health wards would be to improve working partnerships with relatives. This would reduce the need for people to be admitted, which often occurs when relatives can no longer cope, or close relationships have broken down and there is no longer family support available.