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Posted: September 19th, 2023

Chain of Infection among African American Populations

Chain of Infection
This assignment will serve as a course level assessment to following outcome; Summarize based on the evidence, specific population health risk.

Assignment: Chain of Infection

This assignment provides an opportunity to apply your knowledge regarding the development methods and proven techniques for a chain of infection including;

· Agent

· Reservoir(s)

· Portal(s) of exit

· Mode(s) of transmission

· Portal(s) of entry

· Host characteristics


This paper should be 4 pages in length (excluding the title page and references) supported with a minimum of six scholarly, peer-reviewed sources. Use APA format and citation Style. View the attached grading rubric

Chain of Infection among African American Populations

A chain of infection refers to the series of events that must occur for a disease to spread from one host to another. This paper will examine the chain of infection for various diseases that disproportionately impact African American populations in the United States. Understanding how diseases spread can help public health officials implement targeted prevention strategies.
Several infectious diseases have higher prevalence among African Americans. For example, African Americans have higher rates of HIV/AIDS compared to other racial/ethnic groups in the U.S. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2021a). Rates of hepatitis C are also disproportionately high among African Americans (CDC, 2021b). Bacterial infections like drug-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae are more common in African American communities as well (CDC, 2022). Genetic factors may play a role in increased susceptibility to certain agents. However, social determinants of health like poverty, lack of access to healthcare, and incarceration rates also contribute to higher disease burdens (CDC, 2019).
People who are infected serve as reservoirs, or carriers, of infectious agents. For diseases that impact African Americans at disproportionate rates, reservoirs tend to be concentrated within these communities. As noted above, African Americans have higher prevalence of HIV, hepatitis C virus (HCV), and drug-resistant S. pneumoniae infections. This means African American populations serve as major disease reservoirs. Conditions like poverty and inadequate healthcare access that contribute to initial infection also facilitate ongoing disease transmission within these reservoirs.
Portal(s) of Exit
Infectious agents exit the human body through various routes, depending on the type of microbe. For bloodborne viruses like HIV and HCV, portals of exit include blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and breast milk from infected mothers (CDC, 2021c). Respiratory pathogens like S. pneumoniae exit through droplets from coughs or sneezes of infected individuals (CDC, 2021d). Other infectious agents may exit through feces, urine, wounds, or bites depending on the disease.
Mode(s) of Transmission
From portals of exit, diseases can spread via several modes of transmission. Sexual contact, needle sharing among intravenous drug users, and mother-to-child transmission during birth or breastfeeding are common modes for spreading HIV and HCV (CDC, 2021c). Respiratory droplets from coughs or sneezes transmit diseases like pneumonia (CDC, 2021d). Other modes include food or water contamination for some gastrointestinal illnesses. Social and economic conditions influence transmission risks. For example, incarcerated populations face higher risk of disease transmission due to overcrowding (CDC, 2019).
Portal(s) of Entry

Infectious agents enter a new host through various portals, again depending on the type of microbe. For bloodborne and sexually transmitted infections, common portals of entry include the genitals, anus, mouth, and breaks in the skin. Respiratory pathogens enter through the nose, mouth, and lungs. Gastrointestinal illnesses may enter through the mouth via contaminated food or water. Injection drug use provides a direct portal of entry for bloodborne viruses into the bloodstream.
Host Characteristics
Certain host characteristics can increase susceptibility to infection and influence disease progression. Genetic factors play a role, as some populations are genetically predisposed to certain infections or disease manifestations. However, social and economic conditions profoundly impact risk. African Americans disproportionately experience poverty, lack of health insurance/access to care, incarceration, and other social determinants linked to poor health outcomes (CDC, 2019). These conditions increase exposure risks and limit access to prevention/treatment services, exacerbating disease burdens. Stress from racism and discrimination may also influence immune function and disease susceptibility (CDC, 2019). Younger age is a risk factor for some infections as well.

In summary, a complex interplay between infectious agents, human reservoirs, modes of transmission, and host characteristics drives the chain of infection for diseases disproportionately impacting African American communities. Biomedical factors interact with powerful social determinants of health to maintain these inequitable disease burdens. Targeted public health interventions must consider the full chain of infection and social context to effectively prevent transmission and improve health outcomes in these at-risk populations.
Works Cited
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). CDC health disparities and inequalities report (CHDIR).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021a). HIV and African Americans.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021b). Viral hepatitis and African Americans.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021c). HIV risk and prevention.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021d). About Pneumococcal Disease.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Drug-Resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae.

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