With all the threats of war and financial collapse, it’s easy to overlook another disastrous threat that needs to be addressed – global health threats.
If war or a natural disaster doesn’t get us, a devastating disease might.
We have a long history of global health threats: Coronavirus, the AIDS epidemic, the Black Plague in the 14th Century, Ebola, Zika and Influenza have taken their toll on people, young and old. Those people not prepared were subject to the terror these infectious diseases brought.
The possibility of new health threats during the coming year is very real.
And, with the ability of humans to travel and connect with each other, the diseases could spread like wild fire. The world witnessed the explosion of SARS-CoV2 infection in 2020 as it spread from China to quickly infect other countries. Travelers soon discovered many countries closed their borders and populations became isolated.
The Zika virus (contracted from a mosquito bite), Ebola and the flu could all experience mutations that could make them able to resist current treatments. Diseases we’ve yet to see may come from contaminated food or water and could wreak havoc on the population.
The most vulnerable of the population for contracting a new disease includes children, the elderly and anyone in countries that have poor health infrastructure.
The plague was found in three people in New Mexico in 2017, and while it was contained, it brings worries that something so devastating is still lurking around in our states.
Weather events could add additional deaths because of malnutrition, stress and malaria – especially in those global regions with poor health infrastructure. Extreme heat may also affect the future of our health from causing such conditions as asthma.
Natural disasters also result in health threats and these disasters are predicted to become worse in the coming years. Diseases that are transmitted through insects, cold-blooded animals and snails may occur because of climate change and in some areas such as China and Africa, the chance of new and lethal diseases is much more likely.
The most disastrous possibility would be a disease with a strain that spreads so rapidly that we don’t have the means to treat or prevent it. Although the United States is a leader in global health and disease prevention, its abilities are not unlimited.
One future health threat might be a bioengineered pandemic.
We’ve had natural pandemics in the past, but now the possibility of a large scale nasty disease is much more likely. For example, scientists discovered that if you introduce an extra “mousepox” gene in a mouse, it’s much more likely to be lethal. Mousepox is a man-made gain of function version of the human disease of smallpox.
In 2022, the mainstream media began talking about another gain of function pathogen called “monkeypox”. Monkeypox virus belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae. The Orthopoxvirus genus also includes variola virus (which causes smallpox), vaccinia virus (used in the smallpox vaccine), and cowpox virus.
Concern grows as more countries detect monkeypox | DW News
The world’s population grows by the millions each year and a serious health threat would cause chaos and panic. It’s a topic of discussion among government leaders and scientists worldwide. You too can learn about prevention of diseases, treatment and early detection and be aware of what threats are happening in the rest of the world.
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