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Ten Circumstances That Lead To A New Pandemic

Covid, plague, cholera… Our species has always fought against infectious diseases. How do these pathogens appear?

Ten circumstances that lead to a new pandemic

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Epidemics and pandemics are, unfortunately, nothing new. A simple glance at the history of mankind is enough to show that the struggle of our species against infectious diseases has been constant. Not to mention the recent Covid, the Black Death, cholera, tuberculosis, influenza, typhoid or smallpox are just a few examples of those that have left indelible marks…

Each disease requires specific action and the implementation of different prevention, response and treatment mechanisms. This is why it is essential to identify the origins and modes of appearance of pathogens.

In this regard, approximately 60% of emerging infectious diseases reported worldwide are zoonoses (which are transmitted between animals and humans). It is estimated that approximately one billion people worldwide become ill and millions die each year as a result of zoonotic events. And of more than 30 new human pathogens detected in recent decades, 75% originated in animals.

The recent emergence of several zoonoses – H5N1 avian influenza, H7N9 avian influenza, HIV, Zika , West Nile Virus, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers), Ebola or Covid-19 (Sars-CoV-2) among others – has posed serious threats to human health and global economic development.

They are generally unpredictable, as many originate in animals and are caused by new viruses that are only detected after the fact. However, there are at least ten factors that we already know for sure are linked to the emergence of a future epidemic or pandemic. Here they are gathered and explained below.

1. Wars and Famines

The harm caused by war is obviously many and complex: death, injury and the mass displacement of people fleeing the fighting are the most obvious. But the emergence of infectious epidemics is also closely linked to conflicts.

In 2006, cholera outbreaks were reported in 33 African countries, 88% of them in conflict-affected countries. In recent years, several countries in the Middle East and Africa have experienced infectious epidemics as a direct consequence of war, exacerbated by food and water shortages, displacement and damage to infrastructure and health services. .

2. Land use change

Land use change is a major modification of the ecosystem directly induced by human populations. The consequences are very wide.

These alterations can indeed affect the diversity, abundance and distribution of wild animals and make them more susceptible to infection by pathogens. Furthermore, by creating new opportunities for contact, they facilitate the movement and spread of pathogens between species, which can ultimately lead to human infection.

3. Deforestation

Through deforestation and forest fragmentation, we promote the extinction of specialist species in these habitats and the development and installation of more generalist species. Some wildlife species that are hosts to pathogens, particularly bats and other mammalian species such as rodents, are relatively more abundant in transformed landscapes, such as agricultural ecosystems and urban areas, than in adjacent undisturbed sites.

The establishment of pastures, plantations or intensive livestock operations near forest edges can also increase the flow of pathogens from wildlife to the environment. man.

4. Uncontrolled urbanization and population growth

Changes in population size and density through urbanization again affect infectious disease dynamics. For example, influenza tends to have more persistent epidemics in more populated and dense urban areas.

5. Climate change

Climate change increases the risk of cross-species viral transmission. Many virus species are still unknown, but are likely to have the ability to infect our species. Fortunately, the vast majority of them currently circulate silently among wild mammals.

However, the expected rise in temperatures with climate change will lead to massive migrations of animals in search of milder environmental conditions, which will facilitate the emergence of “biodiversity hotspots” (threatened biogeographical area with at least 1500 plant species and endemic animals). If they reach areas with high human population density, mainly in Asia and Africa, new possibilities of zoonotic spread to humans will appear.

According to recent predictions based on climate change scenarios , by 2070, virus transmission between species will increase approximately 4,000 times.

6. Globalization

Globalization has facilitated the spread of many infectious agents to all corners of the world.

The transmission of infectious diseases is the best example of the growing porosity of borders. Globalization and increased connectivity accelerate the potential emergence of a pandemic, and its rapid spread, due to the constant movement of microorganisms through international trade and transport.

7. Hunting, trade and consumption of bushmeat

Transmission of zoonoses can occur at any point in the bushmeat supply chain, from hunting in the forest to the place of consumption. Pathogens that have been transmitted to humans from bushmeat are numerous and include but are not limited to HIV, Ebola virus, simian foamy virus and monkeypox virus…

8 . Illegal cash trafficking and wildlife markets

An ecosystem with high species richness reduces the encounter rate between susceptible and infectious individuals, which decreases the likelihood of pathogen transmission. Conversely, live animal markets and other hidden illegal trade enclosures are places where the most diverse species are crammed into overcrowded cages.

Under these conditions, they not only share the same unhealthy and unnatural space, but also disease-carrying ectoparasites and endoparasites. Animals bleed, drool, defecate and urinate on each other resulting in the exchange of pathogenic microorganisms and parasites, forcing species interactions that should never have happened.

9 . Microbial evolution

Microorganisms are constantly evolving, naturally and in response to direct and indirect selection pressures from their environment. A well-established example is that of the influenza A viruses, whose ancestral reservoir is waterfowl, from which they managed to infect other types of animals.

The worldwide development of many types of antimicrobial resistance in common human pathogens is a clear demonstration of the enormous capacity of microorganisms to adapt rapidly.

10. Collapse of public health systems

Over the past few decades, in many countries, there has been a gradual withdrawal of financial support to public health systems.

This has decimated critical infrastructure necessary to deal with sudden epidemics. The recent and rapid emergence of new infectious disease threats, such as Covid-19, coupled with the resurgence of older diseases, such as measles and tuberculosis, has important implications for global public health systems.

We should be aware that preparing for possible future epidemics and pandemics requires careful and careful study of the potential factors that facilitate the emergence of infectious diseases. Careful and critical analysis will help design future forecasting and prevention strategies.

Teilor Stone
Teilor Stonehttps://thesaxon.org
Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Bobr Times, Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my [email protected] 1-800-268-7116

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