Pandemics

Hopefully technology will one day be able to eliminate potential killers before they start to spread – but until then its necessary to be vigilant to the pandemics that don’t differentiate between those with a plan to live forever and those without.

I’ll add more individual pages – but for now the looming pandemic is Ebola.

What’s the chance of a deadly disease annihilating the world’s population? Some of the key factors are:

  1. ease of transmission – by contact or air
  2. is it infectious before symptons so that public health measures can be used?
  3. how deadly is it? lots of novel flus are no worse than seasonal ones
  4. can it be prevented or treated?

 

Latest News

Bill Gates warns tens of millions could be killed by bio-terrorism – Guardian – 18-Feb-2017
The next epidemic could be a genetically engineered version of the smallpox virus or a deadly strain of the flu.
Epidemiologists say a fast-moving airborne pathogen could kill more than 30 million people in less than a year.
Reasonable probability the world will experience such an outbreak in the next 10 to 15 years.
71% of Britons are more concerned about the spread of infectious diseases than war with other nations.

We are vulnerable to flu epidemic in next decade – BBC – 30-Dec-2016
Bill Gates says the world is a bit vulnerable right now.
Ebola and Zika crises showed the systems for responding to emergencies are still not strong enough.
Dame Sally Davies (Chief Medical Officer for England): It would take at least six months from the start of a flu pandemic to get an effective vaccine.

First flu affects lifetime risk – BBC – 11-Nov-2016
Research finds there are only two types of hemagglutinin protein on surface of influenza A virus.
Chances of falling ill from a new strain of flu are at least partly determined by the first strain they ever encountered.
75% protection rate against severe disease if patient exposed to a virus with the same protein motif when they were a child.
The first time a person’s immune system encounters a flu virus, it makes antibodies targeting hemagglutinin .
Could explain why some flu outbreaks cause more deaths and serious illnesses in younger people.

UK is ‘vulnerable’ to next Ebola outbreak – BBC News – 25-Jan-2016
Science and Technology Committee says gaping hole in the country’s ability to manufacture vaccines.
UK lacks the capability to vaccinate UK citizens in an emergency.
Government’s response to Ebola outbreak was “undermined by systematic delay”.
Prof Adrian Hill calls it a “national security issue”.

Dog infects four humans with the plague, may involve human-to-human transmission – The Independent – 1-May-15
8 cases of the plague in humans each year on average but is currently treatable with antibiotics.

‘Mystery disease’ kills 18 in Nigeria – BBC News – 18-Apr-15

India swine flu outbreak ‘kills 75’ – BBC News – 28-Jan-15
The H1N1 virus, which causes swine flu, first appeared in Mexico in 2009 and rapidly spread around the world.

Studying Epidemics in Virtual Worlds – Bloomberg – 6-May-2009
1.3 million virtual residents represented by digital characters ran through 15 scenarios, with a variety of government reactions. Tracks the spread of diseases in virtual worlds to help predict what will happen in the real world.

Factors that make an infectious disease outbreak controllable – Imperial College – 27-Feb-2004
Two  simple public health measures in controlling outbreaks are isolating symptomatic individuals and tracing/quarantining their contacts.

 

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