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More pandemics to come ?

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Dutch Josh View Drop Down
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    Posted: November 07 2023 at 11:10pm

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BMJ Global: Historical Trends Demonstrate a Pattern of Increasingly Frequent & Severe Zoonotic Spillover Events

Twelve years, and more than 12,000 blog entries ago, I wrote a piece called The Third Epidemiological Transition, based on the works of the now late (May 22, 1936 - May 15, 2014) anthropologist and researcher George Armelagos of Emory University.

The gist of his theory - which he first published in the mid-1990s - was that since the mid-1970s the world had entered into an age of newly emerging infectious diseases, re-emerging diseases and a rise in antimicrobial resistant pathogens.
Since I penned that blog we've seen the emergence of MERS-CoV from camels in the Middle East, the rise of new avian H7N9, H5N6H3N8, and H10Nx viruses in China , an unprecedented Ebola outbreak in Western Africa, the largest outbreak of human H5N1 on record (in Egypt), and the sudden and rapid spread of Chikungunya and Zika into the Americas, the international spread of Mpox, a severe and prolonged coronavirus pandemic - and since 2021 - the massive spread and frequent spillover of a new H5N1 virus into mammals.  


Emerging infectious diseases are considered such an important public health threat that the CDC maintains as special division – NCEZID (National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases) – to deal with them, and 29 years ago the CDC established the EID Journal dedicated to research on emerging infectious diseases.

More recently, in In 2014, in Emerging zoonotic viral diseases  L.-F. Wang (1, 2) * & G. Crameri wrote:

The last 30 years have seen a rise in emerging infectious diseases in humans and of these over 70% are zoonotic (2, 3). Zoonotic infections are not new. They have always featured among the wide range of human diseases and most, e.g. anthrax, tuberculosis, plague, yellow fever and influenza, have come from domestic animals, poultry and livestock. However, with changes in the environment, human behaviour and habitat, increasingly these infections are emerging from wildlife species.

And just over two years ago, in PNAS Research: Intensity and Frequency of Extreme Novel Epidemicsresearchers calculated that the risks of seeing another COVID-level pandemic in any given year is roughly 2% . . . and suggest that rate may increase 3-fold over the next few decades.

As unpalatable as the message might be - we are living in an age of increasing pandemics - and the frequency and impact of global health crises are only expected to rise in the years ahead. 

DJ see also [url][/url] or 

My non-expert view; a mix of climate collapse, wars, massive migration (both of humans and other animals) will increase pandemic risks...

The "big picture" is grim...

-Reduction of meat-consumption could reduce the number of farm animals and with that potential hosts for diseases...

-Fur-farms are very high risk and not a worldwide stop of fur-farming would be more than welcome

-Reduction of (global/long distance) travel - diseases fly for free...

-Better surveilance/monitoring-early warning to detect diseases and stop them...

-GLOBAL COOPERATION !!! (We can not have global war if we want to have even a remote chance of surviving !)

-Public health -not for profit- tax funded for ALL !!!

-Sick leave needs to be well organized...If you are dealing with an infection do not spread it-but you need a basic income when you are a health risk !

-Improving ventilation in ALL public settings; schools, hospitals but also transport...

New techniques may pick up viral parts from air samples and send a warning to those that have been in the area with the higher level of virus-spread...UV-C may be able to kill/weaken virusses...What is the problem with masks lowering viral loads ? 

DJ-There may be a limit to vaccines...I did get my 6th CoViD vaccine and my usual flu-vaccine...there are limits -even for me- in the number of vaccines I am willing to take...I do think vaccines may interact...Some diseases are able to "mutate" around vaccine immunity...(or anti-virals)...

Here in NL untill recent we had state owned vaccine research and production...for political "dogma" it had to be "privatized"...In the recent vaccine campains we ended up paying billions for private companies (making crazy profits !) while the state/country itself could have produced vaccines...At LOWER costs-available for ALL !

-An other important note; It is YOUR BODY !!! YOU decide if you want a vaccine !!! Not a "politician" !

Good information/communication has to do the job...NOT enforcement...In some sectors (trade unions may play a role here) "for the job" you may be obliged for stricter medical rules...(In the off-shore sector, pilots, army/navy...It may be easier to enforce masks in healthcare than to enforce vaccines...but that should be part of a discussion...Also can you get a pay-rice if you are vaccinated ?)

Our evaluation of the historical evidence suggests that the series of recent epidemics sparked by zoonotic spillover are not an aberration or random cluster, but follow a multi-decade trend in which spillover-driven epidemics have become both larger and more frequent. The continuation of this trend would represent a potentially large increase in global infectious disease risk and burden in terms of loss to human health and livelihoods.

Maybe another note; food production is at risk...How you run a society if 10% of the population has chronic health issues after disease...

While the future is obviously unknowable, the historical trends are both unmistakable and compelling. 

When you cram 8 billion people onto an increasingly crowded world, and greatly increase both the speed and accessibility of international travel - viruses that once remained local, and often burned themselves out - can now spread globally in a matter of days. 


Toss in the added pressures of climate change, expanding antimicrobial resistance, growing food insecurity, and an increasing number of wars and civil unrest, and it doesn't take a Nostradamus to see that the world has got some serious challenges ahead. 

Challenges we can meet - or at least mitigate - but only if we accept that they will come, and prepare for them in advance. 

Sadly, the recent dismantling of our global surveillance, reporting, and response systems following the declaration of `victory' over COVID suggests we haven't learned the primary lesson from COVID.

That if it happened once, it can happen again. 

While you can't consider it `good news', based on historical trends, it seems likely we'll have many more opportunities to learn this crucial lesson in the years ahead.

DJ, the reason we "do not learn from history" is we do not want to look in the mirror history provides....

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
~Albert Einstein
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