The next pandemic and when it will happen

Foot and Mouth Disease of cattle, new global diseases of bees; these are pandemics.  Pandemics in the global human population are part of our history and future;

Date                 Place                       Pandemic Pathogen                             Deaths

BC430                   Athens             Typhus or Smallpox?                          75,000 to 100,000

AD

541 to 542 Europe & Asia             Bubonic Plague                                  25 to 50 million

1347 to 1351 Europe/Asia/Africa  Black Death Bubonic Plague          75 to 200 million

1545 to 1576         Mexico            Smallpox                                               17 million

1665 to 1656         Europe             Bubonic Plague of London               100,000

1817 to 1824         Asia Europe    Cholera                                                100,000

1918 to 1920         World              Spanish flu                                          20 to 50 million

1980 to date          World              HIV                                                     35 million

2013 to 2016         West Africa     Ebola                                                   11,000 plus

Diseases like Ebola are truly awful but are transmitted in body fluids, i.e.by touch of bodies or contaminated materials.  So, with very careful, detailed isolation these diseases are comparatively easy to contain.  Airborne disease, such as flu viruses, can be transmitted very quickly in high population densities where transfer to others, and mutation to more, or less, virulent strains are more likely to occur.  Cross infection is easier too, particularly in public transport places such as busses and underground railways.  Avian and swine flus, fortunately for us, mutated the right way and became less fatal.  Mutation to be more fatal will, sooner or later, happen. It is difficult to be precise about when the next one will occur but any time now would not be misleading. This year: possible.  Within 5 years; very likely

How to prepare to combat the next pandemic, see the next blog in this series.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd   5th July 18

 

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