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Preventive medicine 

Preventive medicine
Preventive medicine

David Mant

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date: 02 March 2021

Deaths from infectious diseases and trauma usually reflect poverty and political instability. Prevention requires political action to reduce the risk of war and improve the supply of food, clean water, sanitation, and shelter. Preventive medicine can help by controlling spread of infection through vaccination, health education, control of insect vectors, and treatment of disease carriers to prevent onward transmission.

Many effective preventive interventions such as legislation to make seatbelts compulsory or tax tobacco should be targeted at the whole population, whereas preventive medicine provided by clinicians must target individuals. This often requires screening to detect early signs of disease (e.g. HIV infection, cancer) or markers of risk of disease (e.g. high blood pressure, intrauterine growth delay), but clinicians must be clear that something effective can be done to ameliorate the condition detected before any screening is undertaken.

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