You are here

Pandemics

Busting 10 Common Myths about the "Greatest Pandemic in History"

              

Spanish influenza ward at Camp Funston, Kansas. Credit: U.S. Army photographer Wikimedia

The 1918 flu did not come from Spain

scientificamerican.com - by Richard Gunderman - January 11, 2018

 . . . The 1918 flu pandemic has been a regular subject of speculation over the last century. Historians and scientists have advanced numerous hypotheses regarding its origin, spread and consequences. As a result, many of us harbor misconceptions about it.

By correcting these 10 myths, we can better understand what actually happened and learn how to prevent and mitigate such disasters in the future.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

 

Country / Region Tags: 
General Topic Tags: 
Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

Is It Possible to Predict the Next Pandemic?

submitted by Carrie La Jeunesse

           

A livestock market in India - Omar Sobhani / Reuters

Large initiatives are underway to pinpoint the next big viral threats—but some virologists believe the task is too hard.

theatlantic.com - by Ed Yong - October 25, 2017

It’s been two years since an epidemic of Zika began in Brazil, three since the largest Ebola outbreak in history erupted in West Africa, eight since a pandemic of H1N1 flu swept the world, and almost a hundred since a different H1N1 flu pandemic killed 50 million people worldwide. Those viruses were all known, but no one knew when or where they’d trigger epidemics. Other diseases, like SARS, MERS, and HIV, emerged out of the blue.

Sick of being perpetually caught off guard, some scientists want to fully catalogue all viral threats, and predict which are likely to cause tomorrow’s outbreaks.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

 

 

Country / Region Tags: 
Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

For the first time, a new strain of bird flu was transmitted human-to-human. This is highly unusual–and could be the first sign of new global pandemic.

           

Avian flu surveillance efforts. Credit: Province of British Columbia

CLICK HERE - A suspected person‑to‑person transmission of avian influenza A (H7N9)

undispatch.com - Alanna Shaikh, MPH  - May 26, 2017

 . . . a Chinese medical journal reported a human-to-human transmission of H7N9. H7N9, as mentioned, has a mortality rate of about 40%. Its impact on humans has been mitigated by the fact that it only spreads from birds. Family members can care for each other without fear.

Last week, though, China reported a case of H7N9 that appears to have spread person to person, not bird to person. The infected patient had no contact with birds or live bird markets, and he had no underlying medical condition. He was a healthy 62-year-old man, who helped a family member hospitalized with H7N9 to use the bathroom. Genetic analysis of the infecting virus indicates that he was infected with the same strain of virus that infected his family member.

Country / Region Tags: 
Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

Infectious Disease Is the Next Big Global Security Risk

The World Is Not Ready for the Next Pandemic

           

John Hackett and Charles Chiu handle Zika samples at the University of California, San Francisco-Abbott Viral Diagnostics and Discovery Center - Cody Pickens for TIME

time.com - by Bryan Walsh - May 4, 2017

 . . . From Ebola in West Africa to Zika in South America to MERS in the Middle East, dangerous outbreaks are on the rise around the world . . . 

 . . . The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranks H7N9 as the flu strain with the greatest potential to cause a pandemic--an infectious-disease outbreak that goes global. If a more contagious H7N9 were to be anywhere near as deadly as it is now, the death toll could be in the tens of millions.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

 

Country / Region Tags: 
General Topic Tags: 
Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

Bill Gates Won’t Save You From The Next Ebola

 Illustration of screens showing patients in a ward for Ebola patients. JI SUB JEONG/HUFFPOST

Image: Illustration of screens showing patients in a ward for Ebola patients. JI SUB JEONG/HUFFPOST

huffingtonpost.com - April 30th 2017 - Robert Fortner, Alex Park

In late August 2014, Tom Frieden, then director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traveled to West Africa to assess the raging Ebola crisis.

In the five months before Frieden’s visit, Ebola had spread from a village in Guinea, across borders and into cities in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Médecins Sans Frontières, the first international responder on the scene, had run out of staff to treat the rising numbers of sick people and had deemed the outbreak “out of control” back in June.

(VIEW COMPLETE ARTICLE)

Country / Region Tags: 
Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

Why Chinese Scientists Are More Worried Than Ever About Bird Flu

A shop owner holds a live chicken for sale in a Hong Kong market. Isaac Lawrence /AFP/Getty Images

Image: A shop owner holds a live chicken for sale in a Hong Kong market. Isaac Lawrence /AFP/Getty Images

npr.org - April 11th 2017 - Rob Schmitz

At a research lab on top of a forested hill overlooking Hong Kong, scientists are growing viruses. They first drill tiny holes into an egg before inoculating it with avian influenza to observe how the virus behaves.

This lab at Hong Kong University is at the world's forefront of our understanding of H7N9, a deadly strain of the bird flu that has killed more people this season — 162 from September up to March 1 — than in any single season since when it was first discovered in humans four years ago. 

(VIEW COMPLETE ARTICLE)

Country / Region Tags: 
Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

County Health Director: Count on More Zika-Related Birth Defects

submitted by Albert Gomez

The Zika-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito is photographed through a microscope. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

CLICK HERE - REPORT - CDC - Vital Signs: Update on Zika Virus–Associated Birth Defects and Evaluation of All U.S. Infants with Congenital Zika Virus Exposure — U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry, 2016

mypalmbeachpost.com - by John Pacenti - April 8, 2017

Sick of hearing about Zika already? Get used to it as more birth defects related to the virus are expected in 2017 in Florida and throughout the U.S.

This summer, there will be a full-court press by health officials against Zika.

“It’s not something to be taken lightly,” said Dr. Alina Alonso, head of the Palm Beach County Health Department, in an interview with The Palm Beach Post.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

 

Country / Region Tags: 
General Topic Tags: 
Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

Bill Gates Warns Tens of Millions Could be Killed by Bio-Terrorism

           

Bio-terrorism could kill 30 million people in a year, says Bill Gates

Microsoft founder and philanthropist tells Munich security conference genetic engineering could be terrorist weapon

theguardian.com - Bill Gates / Ewen MacAskill - February 18, 2017

A chilling warning that tens of millions of people could be killed by bio-terrorism was delivered at the Munich security conference by the world’s richest man, Bill Gates

Gates, who has spent much of the last 20 years funding a global health campaign, said: “We ignore the link between health security and international security at our peril.”

Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft who has spent billions in a philanthropic drive to improve health worldwide, said: “The next epidemic could originate on the computer screen of a terrorist intent on using genetic engineering to create a synthetic version of the smallpox virus ... or a super contagious and deadly strain of the flu.”

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

CLICK HERE - Munich Security Conference

 

 

Country / Region Tags: 
Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

Why Killer Viruses Are On The Rise

       

Once called the "Dutchmen" because of their large noses and large bellies, proboscis monkeys live only in Borneo. Ecosystems that have a lot of diverse animals, like this monkey, also tend to have a lot of diverse viruses.  Charles Ryan

npr.org - by Michaeleen Doucleff and Jane Greenhalgh - February 14, 2017

The next troubling outbreak could come from a rain forest . . . And a big reason why: all the crazy animals that live here.

. . . Wild animals are now refugees. They have no home. So they come live in our backyards. They pee on our crops. Share our parks and playgrounds. Giving their viruses a chance to jump into us and make us sick.

"So it's really the human impact on the environment that's causing these viruses to jump into people," Olival says.

And cause an outbreak? I ask. Or a pandemic, says Olival.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

 

 

Country / Region Tags: 
Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

We Are Grossly Unprepared for Major Outbreaks

submitted by Alicia Juarrero

           

CLICK HERE - The BMJ - Post-Ebola reforms: ample analysis, inadequate action

CLICK HERE - Post-Ebola reforms: ample analysis, inadequate action (8 page .PDF report)

globalbiodefense.com - January 26, 2017

The world remains “grossly underprepared” for outbreaks of infectious disease, which are likely to become more frequent in the coming decades, warn a team of international experts in The BMJ.

They reviewed reports on the recent Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa and say better preparedness and a faster, more coordinated response could have prevented most of the 11,000 deaths directly attributed to Ebola and also the broader economic, social, and health crises that ensued.

. . . a research team, led by Suerie Moon at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, synthesized seven major post-Ebola reports and laid out the key problems and recommendations they highlighted.

Country / Region Tags: 
General Topic Tags: 
Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

Pages

Subscribe to Pandemics
howdy folks