ABSTRACT

Are We Entering a New Age of Pandemics?   [open pdf - 140KB]

From the Document: "COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] is only the latest in a succession of new infectious threats that have emerged in recent decades. Since 1970, we've faced bird flu, SARS [Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome], Ebola, Nipah virus, Marburg fever, cryptosporidiosis and hantavirus. Not to mention resurging diseases, which include monkeypox, dengue and yellow fever, drug-resistant malaria, and even plague. And while HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, may have emerged as early as the 1920s, it only became a mass global killer in the 1980s, responsible for over thirty million deaths since then. The irony of our progress against death from infection over the past two centuries is that our success has helped create the perfect environment for the emergence of a new disease outbreak, and for that outbreak to have catastrophic global social and economic impact. Does that mean we are entering a new age of pandemics? Certainly, the risk is there. Evolutionary biologist Katherine Smith and colleagues at Brown University studied more than 12,000 reported disease outbreaks worldwide since 1980 and concluded that both the number of diseases and the number of outbreaks have been increasing over time. [...] Adding to the danger--and despite everything we've learned since the first age of pandemics--the world responds poorly to the risk of outbreak infections. Not least, we could reduce that risk in the first place through far better sanitation, for humans and domestic animals alike."

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2021-10
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Center for Global Development. Posted here with permission. Document is under a Creative Commons license and requires proper attribution and noncommercial use to be shared: [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/].
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Center for Global Development: https://www.cgdev.org/
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