What is Plague
A plague is an infectious disease caused by Yersinia pestis bacteria usually found in mammals and fleas. Humans can be contaminated by the bite of an infected flea. Thankfully, today it can be treated with antibiotics and preventive measures. But before modern medicine, millions would lose their lives, unable to avoid the disease.
There are three types of plagues:
- Pneumonic, infecting the lungs
- Septicemia, bacteria in the bloodstream
- Bubonic, infecting the lymph nodes
First Recorded Plague,
- The Justinian Plague, 541-542, is believed to be the first recorded bubonic plague killing 30-50 million.
- Black Death, 1347-1352, killing 75-200 million
- Smallpox, 1520, 25-55 million
- Third Plague, 1885, killing 12 million
- 1918 Spanish Flu, 1918-29, killing 50 million
- HIV/AIDS, 1981 to current, killing 35 million
- COVID 19, 2020 to present, killing 5-17 million
A study by the National Academy of Science used data records of past outbreaks to estimate the intensity and probability of recurrences of epidemics and pandemics. William Pan, Ph.D., tells us pandemics aren't so rare, and efforts to prevent and contain them are necessary. Marco Marani, Ph.D. of the University of Padua in Italy, used statistical data to measure the scale and frequency of disease outbreaks. The analysis covered pathogens including plagues, smallpox, cholera, typhoid, and influenzas and the probability of events happening again. Another pandemic may occur.
Significant pandemics like COVID-19 and the Spanish Flu are likely, and the risk of outbreaks is increasing. It is estimated to grow based on the increasing rate at which pathogens such as SARS-COV-2 have broken loose in human populations in the past fifty years. In addition, outbreaks are becoming more frequent as populations grow, changes in our food systems, environmental changes, degradation, and contact between humans and infected mammals, whether legal or illegal, wildlife for pets.
Reasons For Concern
Within the last 100 years, two viruses have spilled from mammals to humans caused to several factors. Climate change is directly linked to a considerable risk of pandemics. Rising temperatures enable mosquitoes, ticks, and disease-carrying insects to increase and adapt. Another example is flooding, creating breeding grounds for infecting insects. Melting permafrost pathogens can also be released from animal carcasses.
The PANDEM-2 project is funded to develop new solutions for pandemic management and prepare training and responses. The consortium consists of 19 partner organizations with expertise in technology and research. The Advisory Board membership includes the World Health Organization (WHO), The American Red Cross (ARC), and the European Center For Viruses Prevention Center (ECDC).
Professor Marie Connolly is the coordinator with credentials in infectious disease, and she tells us that when we destroy nature, we risk releasing viruses to human populations.
Science is beginning to catch up with research and treatments of these devastating diseases. The discovery of sulphonamides began in the1930s and later the discovery of streptomycin to add to the treatment.
Economic and Social Concerns
Anytime major outbreaks occur, economic and social problems will follow. We are all so aware of this from the fallout of COVID 19. Masks became essential, and vaccines were made available. Businesses shut down, and prices of commodities rose sharply. Products were halted, workplaces moved to work from office to home, and school classes went online. Indeed, stress and mental health became significant issues. Unemployment rose to a high, which meant spending was at a low.
It is scary