Infectious diseases

The 26th edition of the programme will be broadcast on 17 December and will deal with a group of diseases that cause one of every three deaths in the world, and which the experts say will become a serious problem for public health.

Infectious diseases are caused by the invasion or proliferation of microorganisms that multiply in the human body until they harm it. They can affect the digestive, respiratory, reproductive, immune and nervous systems, the skin and, in some cases, the whole body. They can be caused by viruses, bacteria, protozoa or fungi. The commonest are those caused by viruses, with hepatitis and aids being the most serious; and by bacteria, such as sepsis, meningitis, bronchitis, pneumonia and tuberculosis.

It is reckoned that infectious diseases cause the death of one person in three worldwide, and experts warn that in the coming decade they will become a serious epidemic that could lead to the deaths of 10 million people in 2050, which is a greater number than from cancer.

La Marató will also deal with a set of infectious diseases and complications derived from an infection or from their treatment. Because of their incidence and growth these have become priority areas for health care and research in Catalonia. They include diseases such as sepsis, the growing importance of resistance to antibiotics in many bacteria that cause common infectious processes, infections related to health care and prostheses, the vulnerability of patients with weakened immune systems, emerging diseases and travellers' diseases.

One of the most worrying infectious diseases is sepsis, which occurs when a bacterial infection spreads through the body, affects other organs and in many cases leads to death. Every year in Catalonia some 20,000 cases are detected and they cause the death of over 3,500 people, ten every day.

On Sunday 17 December La Marató de TV3 and Cataluña Radio will focus their efforts on raising awareness and gathering funds that will boost new preventive tools to reduce the risk of having an infection, designing diagnostic methods that are more efficient, fast and personalised, and making new, effective treatments available to fight the microorganisms that cause these diseases.

The theme of La Marató 2017 has been approved by the Board of the Foundation at the proposal of the Scientific Advisory Committee from the applications received in the last call for proposals for diseases, held in 2015. Every two years the Foundation calls on associations representing doctors, patients and patients' families to propose diseases for the programme to cover.