Origin of the word
The word advent comes from the Latin prefix ‘ad-‘ meaning ‘to’ and the root ‘venire’ meaning ‘come’. The English word is derived from the Latin ‘adventus’ meaning ‘arrival’. Though the religious association of the word advent dates back to the 10th or 11th century, its secular meaning did not come into popular use in English until 1742.
Advent is a noun that may refer to an introduction of a new idea or an impending arrival: ‘After the long winter, we gladly welcomed the advent of spring’. It is also frequently used to describe the period of four weeks that precede the celebration of Christmas.
Scarlet fever, once a leading killer of young children in the 19th and 20th centuries, has made a modern comeback recently and scientists are hard pressed to understand the reason for the disease’s resurgence.
The scarlet fever infection is caused by bacteria and symptoms include rash, high fever, sore throat and occasionally serious complications such as heart and kidney problems. It typically impacts children aged 5 to 15. In centuries past, the disease was quite often fatal, yet the advent of antibiotics brought about a decline in the number of deaths sometime in the mid 20th century.
According to a report published in the Lancet Journal of Infectious Diseases, England and Wales began to see an increase in scarlet fever cases in 2014. Today, this revival has the UK experiencing its highest rates of infection in nearly 50 years.
A number of countries around the world are also reporting higher than normal rates of infection. Vietnam, South Korea and China have all seen significant increases in scarlet fever cases since 2009. In Hong Kong, the advent of this new wave of infections has caused an outbreak, with a tenfold increase in cases over the last 16 years.
Though the strain of scarlet fever bacterium currently circulating is less deadly than past epidemics, the authors of the Lancet study caution that with so many global outbreaks still ongoing, a heightened awareness and tracking of the disease is well-advised.
1. the introduction of a new product, idea, custom etc.
2. in the Christian religion, the four-week period before Christmas Day
View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.
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