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Bill Gates: The Threat Of A “Disease X” Global Pandemic Is “Very Real”

Bill Gates Disease X

When it comes to global health policy, Bill Gates has never been known for subtlety. So it’s hardly surprising that his charitable foundation’s latest report on the greatest challenges facing mankind might make some readers want to lock themselves in an indefinite quarantine.

Gates

Readers familiar with Gates’ previous warnings about the rising risk of a global pandemic will recognize the top three risks: antibiotic resistance, governmental reluctance to fund health-care solutions and the next global contagion. The latter risk factor has become so universally feared by health professionals that the World Health Organization already has a name for it: “Disease X”. The likelihood of an explosive global pandemic breaking out in the relatively near future increases along with the population in the world’s poorest countries, which are presently experiencing explosive population growth even as birth rates in the developed world plummet. And if the world’s wealthiest countries don’t invest resources to combat these issues in Africa, South America and Asia now, it will be infinitely more expensive grappling with the consequences on the back-end, as Gates explained in an interview with the Telegraph.

“We are not fully prepared for the next global pandemic,” he says. “The threat of the unknown pathogen – highly-contagious, lethal, fast-moving – is real. It could be a mutated flu strain or something else entirely. The Swine Flu and 2014 Ebola outbreaks underscored the threat.”

The risks associated with the population boom in the poorest countries in Africa has long been treated as “the elephant in the room” by global policy makers. Even if one sets aside the risk of disease, the developing world must step up to monitor the economic impacts of rapidly increasing populations, confronting issues like political instability to ensure that the expansion will yield unbridled growth like similar periods in China and India.

According to demographers projections, the population of Africa is set to explode to 4 billion by the end of the century.

Population

While the story includes few references to world leaders, Gates paused to praise UK Prime Minister Theresa May for her recent tour of Africa, during which she re-committed to UK aide spending…

Gates commends Theresa May’s recent Africa tour where she recommitted to Britain’s aid spending target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income. He says he has attempted to meet with Jeremy Corbyn, although so far failed, due to a schedule clash.

…And tried what looked to be her first attempt at dancing.

Embedded video

Moving on from this talk of global pandemics, Gates spared a few moment to opine on how governments should approach social media. And in his view, they should step up and regulate it with a heavy hand.

“They will step up in a pretty strong way to all those things. People who are super-successful need to be held to a very high standard. Some of that will lead to a very unfair personalisation as though these mistakes are somehow down to flaws in Mark’s character, or something like that. Mark knows he is in a position of responsibility and is trying to learn about this stuff.”

We imagine Mark Zuckerberg will be thrilled to hear that.

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What To Do and Not Do When a Pandemic Starts- Part 2, by Scientist69

 

In part 1 of this article series, I explained the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic as well as virus transmissions. We also went through some basic biosecurity measures, including items to have on hand and how to use them, including some detail on various disinfectants. Now, let’s move forward in our discussion on dealing with pandemic-causes viruses.

Vaccination

Vaccinations have gotten a bad reputation, unfortunately due to the occurrence of some rare issues such as allergies to vaccines, autoimmune responses, et cetera and a whole lot of misinformation. Generally, if you had regular vaccinations, you might have some protection against any other flu, but it most likely will not be enough to prevent disease; however, it might give you a leg up in regards to dying. The reason for this is in the biology of the virus and the biology of your immune response.

Vaccinations against the … Continue reading

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What To Do and Not Do When a Pandemic Starts- Part 1, by Scientist69

The Basics (Science is Awesome)

What is the basic difference between an epidemic and a pandemic? In an epidemic, an infectious disease spreads quickly between people; however, this will be relatively confined to a geographic area, country, or even a continent. The Ebola epidemic in West Africa is an example. On the other hand, a pandemic means that this infectious disease spreads quickly to other continents, basically causing disease globally, most likely resulting in high fatality rates.

Examples of infections that can potentially cause a pandemic are the bird flu (avian influenza), SARS or MERS like infections that are caused by viruses in the coronavirus family, and of course Ebola and similar so-called hemorrhagic viruses.

Viruses More Likely to Cause a Pandemic

Why are these viruses more likely to cause a pandemic?

All of these viruses are so-called RNA (not DNA) viruses. This means there are more mutations happening … Continue reading

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Are You Ready For The Next Influenza Epidemic? How Will You Survive The Next Pandemic?

In doing some research about influenza, I came across the great Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919. This happened during World War I and affected everyone on both sides of the ocean as well as across the world. It affected soldiers as well as citizens. It is estimated that 50 million people died during this epidemic. That is compared to the 16 million people who died during World War I.

One of the things that was missing from this epidemic was antibiotics. They simply did not exist as a medicine during this time. Antibiotics in an usable form was discovered in 1928 by Sir Alexander Fleming. However, antibiotics are rarely used for any influenza viruses. We do have some medications now that will treat influenza.

It is unlikely though that antibiotics would have been effective anyway during the epidemic of 1918. The influenza epidemic came in two phases. The first phase was less severe and most people recovered from it. It came in back a few months later and killed people within hours to a few days. Most people died from the fever and fluid filling their lungs which suffocated them. The disease affected people ages 20-40 the most.

Doctors and scientists were at a loss at how to treat this influenza. They could not control or stop the disease. Remember, there was no Center for Disease Control at the time. That was not established until 1946.

Don’t remember learning this in history class? I didn’t remember learning it either. However, what can we take away from this?

1. It was not treatable. They believe the strain during this epidemic was the H1N1. Influenza strains can be mild or develop a variant that can make them deadly. Since very little was known about influenza then, it was almost impossible to treat. Today’s influenza strains are proving harder to treat. Flu shots do not cover all strains of influenza. A strain or a variant in the strain of influenza could be strong enough to not be treatable or controllable.

2. It affected strong, healthy adults the most. The age group that was affected the most was 20-40 years old. This is a group of people who are at the peak of life in terms of health and vitality. The problem with that is this is also the group of people who would be the most social group especially in 1918. Even today, people in that age range rarely stay home. The disease would be able to spread very quickly because people are constantly going. They go to work, kids’ activities, social gatherings, and college.

3. It was not controllable. This influenza strain spread very, very quickly. People were given poor advice on how to not catch the disease and how to treat the disease. We now have the Center for Disease Control who would hopefully be on top of the disease. We also now know the best way to treat the symptoms of influenza. We also know that we need rest and to stay home to keep influenza from other people.

Do you think this could happen again? Many people do. Are you ready for the next influenza epidemic? An influenza epidemic of the proportions that occurred in 1918 would be considered a pandemic now.  We hear threats of pandemics now that could happen. How would you survive the next pandemic? What do you need to do to get ready?

1. Get a sick room ready. You should have a room, preferably a bedroom, ready to be a sick room. You should have some medical supplies ready in that room like a thermometer, ibuprofen, hot water bottle, instant cold packs, face tissues, disinfectant spray cleaner, trash bags, face masks, and disposable gloves. You may also want a pandemic flu kit in that room for the people treating the sick.

2. Have white towels, wash cloths, and white bedding ready to use. You want linens you can wash in very hot water or even put in boiling water to disinfect. You can also use bleach on white linens without issues. You want to have extra linens so you can change the sick beds quickly and wash the infected bodies without worry.

3. Have rolls of heavy plastic to cover surfaces like the bed, the floor, the windows,and the doorways. You have to think about disease control going in and out of the house. You are trying just as hard to keep the disease out as well as keeping it controlled in your home.

4. Keep some chem suits on hand. You may want to completely cover up to deal with a sick patient or having to go into infected areas. A chem suit with boots and gloves would be the ideal solution. You will also want a face mask and eye protection to keep safe.

5. Have one person who would be dedicated to taking care of the sick. The less people exposed to the sick person, the better the chances for everyone to stay healthy. Having one person designated to taking of the sick will keep everyone healthier. Having a designated respite person for the caretaker would be a good idea too.

6. Have a plan in place for death. In a pandemic, death is inevitable. What will you do if someone dies? As morbid as it seems, you may want to have a body bag on hand. You also want to have a plan for disposal of the body. Where will it be buried? Will you bury the body? Those are your decisions alone, but having a plan will make those decisions easier.

7. Do not go anywhere if you don’t have to. During a pandemic, being a homebody is your best bet for not catching the disease. Having a good food storage, water storage, and a disinfected home will be wise.

No one wants to think about getting sick much less think about a lot of people getting sick. We like to think with all the technological and medical advances we have now, another influenza pandemic will not happen again. However, new strains of diseases are being developed all the time in nature and in labs. We can not be sure this will not happen again. In fact, it is likely to happen again.

What will you do to protect yourself during a pandemic? Do you think we could have another influenza pandemic?

 

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Superbugs Found Along Britain’s Surf

Superbugs Found Along Britain’s Surf By Tim Sandle

superbug

Some Escherichia Coli are becoming resistant to antibiotics

A proportion of the bacteria found along the U.K. coastline are pathogenic. Of these pathogen some, worryingly, are antibiotic resistant according to a new survey.

Researchers have found that some of the Escherichia coli bacteria found floating at the surface of Britain’s coastal waters are resistant to antibiotics. Samples were taken from 97 different costal spots around Wales and England. Of these 97 sites, 15 contained E. coli that was resistant to third-generation cephalosporins, These are a class of antibiotics that are used as antibiotics of last resort, when the other antibiotics cannot be used.

Although the actual proportions of antibiotic resistant bacteria was low (less than one tenth of one percent), this is still a dangerous number and poses a risk to people who swim with cuts or to aquatic sports enthusiasts.

Commenting on the findings, lead researcher Dr. Gaze said in his conference speech: “Although this research has established that coastal waters are a potential source of exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, we’re not recommending that people stop visiting the beach. Exercise and enjoyment of the natural environment has many established benefits for health and well-being and this kind of research will help us ensure people can still make the most our coastal resources.”

The growing menace of antibiotic resistance is, arguably, the single biggest threat faced by the world’s population.

The study was conducted by microbiologists working at the University of Exeter. The findings were taken to a recent meeting of the Society for General Microbiology.