HealthMap brings together disparate data sources to achieve a unified and comprehensive view of the current global state of infectious diseases and their effect on human and animal health. This freely available Web site integrates outbreak data of varying reliability, ranging from news sources (such as Google News) to curated personal accounts (such as ProMED) to validated official alerts (such as World Health Organization).
In the realm of infectious diseases, a pandemic is the worst case scenario. When an epidemic spreads beyond a country’s borders, that’s when the disease officially becomes a pandemic.
Humanity has been surviving plagues for thousands of years, and we have managed to learn a lot along the way.
Lockdowns and distancing won’t save the world from warming. But amid this crisis, we have a chance to build a better future.
From stigma to vaccines, NYU Biology’s Joseph Osmundson on applying lessons from HIV and COVID-19 to monkeypox.
Osteomyelitis is a very broad category of pathology; the term is used to describe any infection of the bone itself. It is the one sign accessible to bioarchaeologists who work on bone of potential smallpox infections.
Illness has been one of the most formative forces in the history of the human race. While a number of the world’s worst illnesses have been eradicated through medical advancements, many under the radar illnesses have the ability to spread like wildfire (and some currently don’t have cures). Let’s take a look at the history and present state of international pandemics.
This pandemic started as just another strange pneumonia from southern China, but in 2003 it turned into a global outbreak that infected 8,098 people and killed 774. Key to the disease’s spread, researchers found, was a small but crucial portion of the population that became known as “superspreaders,” people who transmitted the infection to a much greater than expected number of new hosts.
The good news is that even though we face a problem of epic dimensions, we also have powerful new tools to prevent or fight the next outbreak. Already, advances in our understanding and treatment of these types of infectious disease have enabled us to limit the spread of these newer viruses. Medical researchers are figuring out how emerging diseases like MERS are transmitted. And, as a result, we’re better prepared for the future than at any time in the past.
The experts I spoke to agree that the agent most likely to cause the next pandemic will be a virus—more specifically, an RNA virus. These viruses are the bêtes noires of infectious-disease specialists, and are responsible for influenza, MERS, Ebola, SARS, polio, and HIV, among others.
In the hands of Hollywood, pandemics tend to be of the one-size-fits-all variety. They unleash massive chaos and spread at lightning speed, as health officials in hooded biohazard suits rush to distribute vaccinations. And in real life, flu pandemics, which tend to strike only a few times each century, could be that terrifying. But, a decade onward, the experience of H1N1 is a reminder that it’s impossible to know from the get-go how a pandemic will play out.
But there's something out there that's as bad as war, something that kills as many people as war, and Gates doesn't think we're ready for it.
"Look at the death chart of the 20th century," he says, because he's the kind of guy that looks at death charts. "I think everybody would say there must be a spike for World War I. Sure enough, there it is, like 25 million. And there must be a big spike for World War II, and there it is, it's like 65 million. But then you'll see this other spike that is as large as World War II right after World War I, and most people, would say, 'What was that?'"
"Well, that was the Spanish flu."
Recently, two candidates have emerged: Nipah virus and Rift Valley fever.
A recent outbreak exercise held by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security revealed vulnerabilities that are hardwired into the American system.
Redrawn maps of the world's air-transport network could change the way we track disease from city to city.
As public health officials struggle to contain the Zika virus, science writer Sonia Shah tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies that epidemiologists are bracing themselves for what has been called the next "Big One" — a disease that could kill tens of millions of people in the coming years.
The threat from a modern global epidemic is real - especially in a connected world.
Federal officials on Tuesday ended a moratorium imposed three years ago on funding research that alters germs to make them more lethal.
Such work can now proceed, said Dr. Francis S. Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, but only if a scientific panel decides that the benefits justify the risks.
Some scientists are eager to pursue these studies because they may show, for example, how a bird flu could mutate to more easily infect humans, or could yield clues to making a better vaccine.
Critics say these researchers risk creating a monster germ that could escape the lab and seed a pandemic.
Fifteen years ago, Sars spread through Hong Kong like wildfire. With ever-denser populations and rising antibiotic resistance how many cities are prepared for a viral or bacterial outbreak?
The spread of a devastating virus that is endangering global bee populations is manmade with human trade and transportation of bees for pollination driving the pandemic, a new study says.
UK researchers from the University of Exeter have found that the Apis mellifera honeybee, native to Europe, is a transmitter of Deformed Wings Virus (DWV). The deadly infection, mostly carried by the Varroa Destructor mite, threatens the existence of bees worldwide.
A global disease monitoring network is banking on the idea that healthier wildlife means healthier humans.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has now added Disease X to its Blueprint list of priority diseases. What? WHO? What the heck is Disease X? No, this is not Wolverine getting a bad hangnail, Mystique getting jaundiced, or some other X-Men problem. Nor is it caused by Generation X, the generation supposedly "steeped in irony, detachment, and a sense of dread." And, no it isn't a bad bottle of Dos Equis XX.
The first section of this essay will be argue that global pandemics threaten state security in three ways – domestically, economically and militarily. The second section will argue that the securitization of public health is, ultimately, a short sighted and ineffective approach to dealing with global pandemics and IDs.
Over the past century, humans have been transforming the planet so profoundly that we are pushing it into a new geological era, the Anthropocene (the Age of Man). But how will the Anthropocene unfold? Will we continue on a path of global climate change, land-use change, resource depletion, biodiversity loss and population expansion?
Or will something happen to push us off this trajectory – perhaps back into Holocene-like conditions?
A pandemic isn’t a pandemic, by definition, unless it spreads. The speed at which an infectious disease spreads can topple entire economies, even governments. So how do pandemics spread? There are a variety of ways that infectious disease can run rampant through a region...
Humans have come a long way in preventing viral diseases over the last century. Today, children in the U.S. routinely receive vaccinations against nine viral diseases, including many that used to cause life-threatening complications, such as polio.
But still, there are fewer treatments for viral diseases than for those caused by bacteria, and when infectious disease pandemics emerge, the pathogens that are the most lethal are the viruses, experts say.
The 17-member Commission on a Global Health Risk Framework for the Future issued its final report on Jan. 13, and the panel’s conclusions are a wake-up call about the threat of pandemic disease that could originate almost anywhere and spread everywhere. Despite all the advances of science, “the global community has massively underestimated the risks that pandemics present to human life and livelihoods,” the group declared. “There are very few risks facing humankind that threaten loss of life on the scale of pandemics.”
Pandemics are for the most part disease outbreaks that become widespread as a result of the spread of human-to-human infection.1 Beyond the debilitating, sometimes fatal, consequences for those directly affected, pandemics have a range of negative social, economic and political consequences.
The danger of pandemics has become greater than ever.
Ebola quarantines have been big news recently, but simply covering your mouth when you cough is part of doing your part.
In the wake of the swine flu outbreak, virologist Dr Mike Leahy uses over 50 years of BBC archive to explore the history of pandemics - infectious diseases caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites.
Are either H7N9 or coronavirus pandemics inevitable? We don’t know. But each time one of these viruses infects a human or even another mammal, it’s one more throw at the genetic roulette table.
Among all known pandemic threats, influenza is widely regarded as the most dangerous. Its various strains are constantly changing, sometimes through subtle mutations in their genes, and sometimes through dramatic reshuffles. Even in nonpandemic years, when new viruses aren’t sweeping the world, the more familiar strains kill up to 500,000 people around the globe.
Sonia Shah’s “Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, From Cholera to Ebola and Beyond” could hardly be more timely. More than 300 infectious diseases have emerged or re-emerged in new territories during the past 50 years, the author tells us, and 90% of epidemiologists expect that one of them will go on to cause a disruptive, deadly pandemic at some point in the next two generations.
This article discusses the difference between epidemics and pandemics, how pandemics start, the way they are described and future concerns.
Around the world nations heeded the warnings and spent vast sums developing vaccines and making other preparations. So when swine flu conveniently trotted in, the WHO essentially crossed out "avian," inserted "swine," and WHO Director-General Margaret Chan arrogantly boasted, "The world can now reap the benefits of investments over the last five years in pandemic preparedness."
But there's more than bureaucratic self-interest at work here. Bizarrely enough, the WHO has also exploited its phony pandemic to push a hard left political agenda.
Nine disasters we still aren’t ready for.
We are in the grip of a pandemic like none other in living memory. While people are pinning their hopes on a vaccine to wipe it out, the fact is most of the infections faced by our ancestors are still with us.
There is no emergency in a pandemic
I was asked to repost this with the news of 13 Italian doctors dying from COVID-19. If you do not have proper PPE, do not go in. No matter what. This post is for my healthcare workers, docs, surgeons, Nurses, aids, and EMS, and all staff. There is no emergency in a pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in many ways, but some issues raised in the global health crisis are all too familiar. We dug through The New Humanitarian’s 25-year archive of reporting on pandemics and epidemics for eight takeaways to inform today’s response.
What the world doesn’t need now is a pandemic on top of a pandemic. So a new finding that pigs in China are more and more frequently becoming infected with a strain of influenza that has the potential to jump to humans has infectious disease researchers worldwide taking serious notice.
Memory researchers say these months will eventually become a blur for those of us isolating at home.
The origins of epidemics is both fascinating and grim, but Shah says there are steps we can take to protect future generations from the next epidemic.
MERS, H1N1, swine flu, chikungunya, Zika: Another virus with a peculiar name always seems to be right around the corner, threatening to become a pandemic.
Video presentation from National Geographic's Breakthrough.
EcoHealth Alliance is an international nonprofit dedicated to a 'One Health' approach to protecting the health of people, animals and the environment from emerging infectious diseases.
You can prepare for an influenza pandemic now. You should know both the magnitude of what can happen during a pandemic outbreak and what actions you can take to help lessen the impact of an influenza pandemic on you and your family. This checklist will help you gather the information and resources you may need in case of a flu pandemic.
A severe pandemic would harm health, economies, and communities in all countries, but especially in poor and fragile states. Pandemic prevention requires robust public health systems (veterinary and human) that collaborate to stop contagion promptly.
The Department of Pandemic and Epidemic Diseases (PED) develops strategies, initiatives, and mechanisms to address priority emerging and re-emerging epidemic diseases, thereby reducing their impact on affected populations and limiting their international spread.