The factors motivating the global spread of diseases and viruses

Effect of Globalization on Viruses and Diseases


The increase of outbreaks of dangerous diseases and viruses has been steadily on the rise as man has spread across the earth. Though advancement in technology as allowed man to develop effective transport and communication system, allowing him to move around the globe, man has created a means of microbes spread too. Globalization, which is a feature of the modern period, is said to be in broad perspectives such as. Environment changes, economic, population type and rise of new technologies which have all contributed significantly to the emergence and spread of life-threatening pathogens such as viruses and diseases (Morand et al., 2018)

Economic influences of globalization are heavily centered on trading activities, including food trade that has contributed heavily to a spike in outbreaks of food-related infections. Environmental changes due to the industrial revolution caused by globalization have also contributed to the negative migration of microbes. Population factors, for example, demographic features like the rural-urban movement as a result of globalization, has favored the world spread of infectious diseases such as HIV and Ebola. Technological advancements have contributed to the rise of risks of pathogens invasion as people travel to areas that are more susceptible to some infections(Morand et al., 2018), These all form part of the theories used in explaining how globalization has effects on the spread of diseases.

The figure below shows a map that depicts how various deadly and life-threatening infections are distributed across the world, and the diseases include both viral and non-viral diseases.


Figure 1

Mapping of the geographical distribution of diseases helps in better visualization of the degree of the health impacts of the diseases brought by globalization(Morand et al., 2018). The above map is also useful in forming a baseline through which the progress of success and failure can be evaluated.

Hypothesis/ Problem Statement

What are the major factors motivating the global spread of diseases and viruses?

What are the preventive actions for reducing the spread of these diseases?

What are some of the recent outbreaks of global diseases and viruses?

Methodologies Used

Selection of diseases and viruses of health importance

Approximately 347 diseases and viruses that are of health hazards were reviewed and chosen. The process of reviewing was conducted after access to the GIDEON database, which was done in March 2020. The GIDEON database was chosen as a better alternative since it is both disease diagnosis and reliable information resources that can be accessed after subscription online. Besides, the GIDEON database gets its data from a wide variety of sources such as medical journals and the World Health Organization. The diseases chosen were then updated to feature up to 355 diseases. The diseases were then systematically classified into eleven categories according to their spread type, for example, those spread by fluid body contacts, zoological diseases, and direct body contact, water-borne infections, and sexually transmitted diseases and respiratory infections (Hay et al., 2013)

The revision of the infections was determined to be both mucosal and cutaneous leishmaniasis were re-organized as mucosal or cutaneous leishmaniasis. To the Old and New World, the spotted fevers were classified to show the difference among the strains of the bacterium and ticks spreading the diseases around the globe. Malaria was divided into their respective specific Plasmodium types, such as Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium malariae, and finally Plasmodium ovale.It was essential to do this as the geographical range, and epidemiological patterns of these respective strains would be shadowed if placed under one group(Hay et al., 2013). HIV and AIDS were considered as one major group, respectively, trachoma was preferred over conjunctivitis-inclusion.

Adenovirus diseases were split into adenoviral hemorrhagic, conjunctivitis, adenovirus disease, keratoconjunctivitis, and acute febrile respiratory infection. Roseola disease was named after human herpesvirus 6, and enterovirus disease was split into enterovirus hemorrhagic conjunctivitis and enterovirus disease. Some disease like sandfly fever was considered due to its effect on travelers while the avian influenza virus (H5N1) was included due to the epidemic potentiality.

Data Assembly

Natural history

            Raw information was collected based upon natural history per every disease agent. GIDEON was used further to get data on the genus and species, infection reservoir, vector species, type of transmission for the infection, the incubation period of the disease or virus, vaccination plus the geographical distribution of the disease. The Tree of Life Project was used to generate the taxonomic classification of the pathogens of the respective diseases (Bhatia et al., 2019)

Transmission dynamics

To quantify the potentiality in the transmission of the pathogen agents, R0was used. It is also known as the basic reproduction number. It can be further described as the number of secondary diseases that results if one diseased person is introduced into a susceptible population.Conduction of a literature search was carried out so as to getR0 values in both humans and reservoirs of  infections that can be transmitted from animals to humans(Bhatia et al., 2019)

. This search was conducted through the website of  PubMed by the use of references both ‘disease name’ plus ‘reproduction number’ in the ‘all fields’ search box in March 2020. Another search was carried out repeatedly but replacing ‘reproduction number’ with ‘reproduction ratio,’ ‘reproduction rate,’ ‘reproductive number,’ ‘reproductive ratio,’ and ‘reproductive rate.’ The search pattern was again followed by ‘Genus species’ or ‘diseases synonym’ but replacing ‘disease name,.’ The process was again done in ISI-Web of Knowledge in the‘title/keywords/abstract’ part. Google Scholar was used to carrying out the search as the initial search produced little to no results. Information on theR0 values and the reservoir species when relevant were extracted from the respective references obtained, and if multiplesR0 estimates were reported among sources in a givendisease, the range of estimates was noted down. The range in theR0 estimates was to start from 0(Hay et al., 2013).

Thumbnail maps

Simple maps were constructed from the distribution data provided by GIDEON so as to project out the average susceptible areas of the infections and viruses. Two hundred and seventy-five countries plus regions were coded as 1 for endemic, and 0 for non-endemic for per has given infection. The resulting information, we’re subjected to ArcGIS 10 (ESRI 2010), followed by a display as global maps in the international degree.

 Occurrence data availability and quality

A search was done using only the disease name as the text term in PubMed on March 4, 2020, and using the species name in GenBank on March 2, 2020, In order to know the relative amount of information available for the various infectious diseases. Data on the number of feeds per every infection starting from information collection were received from Health Map and ProMED on the date of March 4, 2020, and from BioCaster on March 5, 2020. Due to the given data from manual searches of PubMed has, to our knowledge, been used in mapping, the analysis was based on PubMed figures, but provide the potential data from the other sources in the electronic supplementary material, to adjust the anticipations for mapping of many of the infections once the usefulnessof these data origins have been confirmed by experiment(Hay et al., 2013).

 Decision rules devised to categorize mapping options

Decision rules created for disease mapping choices are shown in the figure below, also known as figure two (2). Option 1, do not map; the category was applied to worldwide infections.Any infection in that classification fell under sexually transmitted diseases likeHIV, the common cold viruses and endogenous diseases which are infections due to previous inactive microbes, resulting due to a typical commensal micro-organisms flora of humans including urinary tract infections as a result ofEscherichia coli or brain declarations due to the invasion ofStaphylococcus aureus. The occurrence of such infections can depict large spatial differences. These variations are always connected to the variation among human or human-related factors, however, which can be best mapped by the use of techniques associated with the cartography of non-infectious disease(Hay et al., 2013).

Option 2, map the observed occurrence,  applies to pathogens or infections tending to have less information present and less data relevant to the infection ecology. The application of not more than 25 PubMed hits per endemic country was applied to apply a lack of data for any operationally essential infection. Option 3, map the maximum potential range, applies to any infection having less than 25 PubMed results per country. Yet, any information is present concerning the reservoir or vector species that would place boundaries on the potential infection distribution; for example, the African tick bite fever that has a  known vector distribution. Mapping of the disease using ecological niche modeling, Option 4 would use theBRT technology on observed occurrence data. Enough information relating to the outbreak of infection, which is morethan 25 PubMed hits per country, is required for the application of this to use this tactic(Hay et al., 2013). The data is usefully supplemented with information on where the disease is lacking, achieved via systematic searches.

Option 5, the implementation of MBG to mapping, is meant for infections with more than 25 results for every nation of systematically recorded information. The strategy implements the use of MBG to create complete endemic maps by detailed uncertainty metrics. Mapping choice that can be implemented depends on the quantity and features of the infection information present, and this means that any infection categorized for one choice is applicable for a more advanced level in the future as more information becomes available.



In this study, the phenomenon or rather the topic to be studied was well described; thus, the theoretical lens used in research design was the correlational study. The correlational study used the empirical method, which needed measurement of the degree of the widespread of the diseases to show the effects of globalization on the spread of the viruses and diseases across the globe. Data was collected by non-participant observation techniques or the self-report methods. The artifacts of data collection were fixed choice observation checklists and rating scales, as seen from the use of the GIDEON database. It was done so as the nature of the viruses and infections investigated were known(Hay et al., 2013). There was yielding of both qualitative and quantitative data as the numbers were to be given out as raw data in order for calculation of the correlation coefficients. Lastly, the statistical figures of the data used both non-parametric and parametric measures of association. Also, the qualitative data received was categorized in figure 2.

The literature source used was the Using Digital Surveillance Tools for Near Real-Time Mapping of the Risk of International Infectious Disease Spread: Ebola as a Case Study. medRxiv, 19011940. It served as a referencing source on the use of mapping to track the effects of globalization on diseases. The book helped in providing support on the use of ProMed as well as the GIDEON database in deriving the mapping for world distribution of infections, which are a result of globalization.


In this section, the results of the study case are to be shown as follows in the table, highlighting the nature of the diseases.



classification clinically significant diseases (n = 355) diseases with rationale for mapping (n = 174)
animal contact 20 9
blood/body fluid contact 14 5
direct contact 23 7
endogenous 35 0
food/water-borne 82 36
respiratory 39 9
sexual contact 11 2
soil contact 21 14
unknown 11 4
vector-borne 88 80
water contact 11 8

The table shows how the diseases are spread, and this can show the earlier aspects of globalization effects discussed in the introduction section, such as environmental factors. For example, water-borne diseases are seen to have a high transmission rate due to the effects of water contamination sources that can be a result of overpopulation due to rural-urban migration as humans try to seek a better livelihood.

Analysis and Discussion

This research was done to illustrate how globalization has accelerated the incidence of the emergence of various diseases and viruses. The study depicted clearly through the use of the GIDEON database that globalization leads to the appearance of some infections that were only limited to some isolated places to other places across the globe(Hay et al., 2013). This is evident by the transmission ways of the diseases and how they are helped by globalization effects of man such as his migration tracks, population. And infesting into wild areas for agriculture or building of homes, which lead to sexual contact infections, water-borne diseases, and soil contact diseases, respectively.

Furthermore, figure 1 shows the geographical distribution of diseases highlighting the spread of infections such as tuberculosis and viruses like HIV from one continent to the other. It shows how globalization through migration can lead to an influx in the quick spread of pathogens as man interacts among themselves due to globalization. Globalization of economy and trade has made it worse as most of the new infections are easily spread in the busy urban settlements.

As the humans move around from one region to the other, they tend to unknowingly move with pathogens spread them across. However, globalization is not a threat as much as depicted in the various literature sources. And it can help in the quick development of poverty-stricken rural areas. Instead there should be issuing of vaccines and pre-phylaxis drugs that care for those traveling to epidemic areas, Vector control can also help in preventing the rise of the diseases.


In summary, this study has shown how globalization by man has allowed the progressive spread of viruses and infections across the globe. It has also shown that there is still ignorance of the global spread of diseases as not more than 10 percent of infections were mapped competently. It presents a struggle against eliminating the pathogens (Bradbury et al., 2017). However, the work aims to present ways how we can learn to effectively manage the spread of diseases and viruses.


Bhatia, S., Lassmann, B., Cohn, E., Carrion, M., Kraemer, M. U., Herringer, M., … & Nouvellet, P. (2019). Using Digital Surveillance Tools for Near Real-Time Mapping of the Risk of International Infectious Disease Spread: Ebola as a Case Study. medRxiv, 19011940.

Bradbury-Jones, C., & Clark, M. (2017). Globalization and global health: issues for nursing. Nursing Standard, 31(39).

Hay, S. I., Battle, K. E., Pigott, D. M., Smith, D. L., Moyes, C. L., Bhatt, S., … Gething, P. W. (2013, February 4). Global mapping of infectious disease. Retrieved March 12, 2020, from

Morand, S. (2018). Biogeography and the ecology of emerging infectious diseases.

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