Posts Tagged ‘zoonotic’

In 2016, USAID (The United States Agency for International Development is the United States Government agency) reported that nearly 75 percent of all new, emerging, or re-emerging diseases affecting humans at the beginning of the 21st century are zoonotic (i.e. originated in animals).

 

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There is talk among the scientific community that in the near future, humanity may face another Spanish Flu-level pandemic (the Spanish Flu H1N1 influenza virus killed 50-100 million in 1918 and infected 500 million worldwide)…or even something more extreme that threatens humanity’s survival.

Besides the Spanish Flu, the more recent history of pandemics, including and especially the H1N1 Swine Flu outbreak in 2009, inspired our new release novel Silent Fear (which goes on sale on Halloween on October 31: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075HRYTVC/ ). We worked closely with a medical laboratory scientist/microbiologist to get all the medical aspects of the virus in our novel correct. And soon discovered microbiology is a fascinating, and sometimes scary, world underneath the surface…a place where viruses form at the micro level before sometimes spreading worldwide and threatening all of us.

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On the TheBlackVault.com website, in an article headed ‘USAID’s Pandemic Influenza and Other Emerging Threats (PIOET) Program‘, they mention: “Notable reminders of how vulnerable the increasingly interconnected world is to the global impact of new emergent diseases include HIV/AIDS, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the H5N1 strain of avian influenza, and the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus. The speed with which these diseases can emerge and spread presents serious public health, economic, and development concerns.”

The article continues, mentioning how USAID’s “Pandemic Influenza and Other Emerging Threats (PIOET) Unit supports two major lines of work: H5N1 Avian Influenza, and Emerging Pandemic Threats. H5N1 Avian Influenza: Since 2005, USAID has strengthened the capacities of more than 50 countries for monitoring the spread of H5N1 avian influenza among wild bird populations, domestic poultry, and humans, to mount a rapid and effective containment of the virus when it is found, and to help countries prepare operational capacities in the event a pandemic capable virus emerges.”

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So what’s looming in the world right now, virus wise?

Deadly Bird Flu In China Evolves, Spreads To New Regions http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/09/07/549069924/deadly-bird-flu-in-china-evolves-spreads-to-new-regions

This article mentions:

“This past year China had the largest outbreak of a deadly bird flu since the virus was first detected in March 2013.

For the past five years, China has had annual waves of H7N9 outbreaks that peak around January and February.

During the 2017 season, the country reported nearly the same number of cases as all four previous years combined, researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report Thursday. The virus cropped up in more geographic regions. And it showed signs of evolving in ways that cause concern.

As NPR reported in April, the virus has picked up mutations that make it more deadly in poultry and less susceptible to antiviral treatments. “Our research shows it can kill all the chickens in our lab within 24 hours,” virologist Guan Yi told NPR.

H7N9 isn’t your run-of-the-mill bird flu. H7N9 is “the influenza virus with the highest potential pandemic risk,” the CDC writes in the journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In people, H7N9 can cause a severe form of pneumonia and progress into septic shock and multiorgan failure. “We know of only a small number of people who presented with influenza-like symptoms and then recovered without medical attention,” the World Health Organization says.

During the 2017 outbreak, the Chinese government reported 759 cases of H7N9. There were 281 deaths — about a third of those infected. By comparison in 2016 and 2015, the country reported 123 and 226 cases, respectively.”

 

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But wait, there’s more…Oh no!

CNN: The big one is coming, and it’s going to be a flu pandemic https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2017/04/07/health/flu-pandemic-sanjay-gupta/index.html

Article Excerpts:
  • “Unlike seasonal flu, pandemics occur when a completely new or novel virus emerges
  • Gupta: Developing and deploying a pandemic flu vaccine just 24 weeks faster, would save many lives

(CNN)Experts say we are “due” for one. When it happens, they tell us, it will probably have a greater impact on humanity than anything else currently happening in the world.

And yet, like with most people, it is probably something you haven’t spent much time thinking about. After all, it is human nature to avoid being consumed by hypotheticals until they are staring us squarely in the face.

Such is the case with a highly lethal flu pandemic. And when it comes, it will affect every human alive today.

Pandemic flu is apolitical and does not discriminate between rich and poor. Geographical boundaries are meaningless, and it can circle the globe within hours. In terms of potential impact on mankind, the only thing that comes close is climate change. And, like climate change, pandemic flu is so vast, it can be challenging to wrap your head around it.

When most people hear “flu,” they typically think of seasonal flu. No doubt, seasonal flu can be deadly, especially for the very young and old, as well as those with compromised immune systems.

For most people, however, the seasonal flu virus, which mutates just a little bit every year, is not particularly severe because our immune systems have already probably seen a similar flu virus and thus know how to fight it. It’s called native immunity or protection, and almost all of us have some degree of it.

Babies are more vulnerable because they haven’t been exposed to the seasonal flu and older people because their immune systems may not be functioning as well.

Pandemic flu is a different animal, and you should understand the difference.

Panˈdemik/: pan means “all”; demic (or demographic) means “people.” It is well-named, because pandemic flu spreads easily throughout the world. Unlike seasonal flu, pandemics occur when a completely new or novel virus emerges. This sort of virus can emerge directly from animal reservoirs or be the result of a dramatic series of mutations — so-called reassortment events — in previously circulating viruses.

In either case, the result is something mankind has never seen before: a pathogen that can spread easily from person to defenseless person, our immune systems never primed to launch any sort of defense.”

 

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In our new release novel Silent Fear (A novel inspired by true crimes), we have created a fictional scenario inspired by this microbiology and worked closely with a scientist who guided us on our medical sub-plot. Within a murder investigation in a university for the Deaf in London, England, a deadly flu virus (H7N7) outbreak occurs, resulting in the university being quarantined from the outside world.

In the sealed-off university, we then explore in detail a chaotic virus management story where not only does the virus continue to infect more Deaf students and claim more lives, but a serial killer remains at large and terrorizes those who manage to survive the deadly virus.


Silent Fear Kindle cover

And just today, in an unusual coincidence that sounds all too similar to Silent Fear, news has broken out in the last few hours that four hospital wards in the Devon, England have been forced to close due to an outbreak of the norovirus.

Wards closed as outbreak of norovirus confirmed at North Devon District Hospital http://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/wards-closed-outbreak-norovirus-confirmed-690373

13:26, 27 OCT 2017

ARTICLE EXCERPTS:

People are being asked not to visit the hospital if they have had, or been in contact with someone who has had, diarrhoea or vomiting in the last 48 hours, unless their visit is essential.

Four wards at North Devon District Hospital were forced to close due to an outbreak of the vomiting and diarrhoea bug norovirus.

Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust is asking people not to visit the hospital if they have had, or been in contact with someone who has had, diarrhoea or vomiting in the last 48 hours, unless their visit is essential.

Norovirus is a highly contagious gastro-intestinal virus, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting.

Following the spread of this virus in the North Devon community, there is an increase in patients being admitted to NDDH with norovirus.

There have been confirmed cases of norovirus at NDDH this week and four wards were closed to new admissions as a precautionary measure.

The Trust is asking people not to visit the hospital if they have had, or been in contact with someone who has had, diarrhoea or vomiting in the last 48 hours, unless their visit is essential.

When in hospital, people should keep their hands clean using soap and water or the gels provided, and encourage others to do the same.

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Norovirus is a very contagious virus that can infect anyone. You can get it from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces.

If you would like to follow up on this virus outbreak, and other outbreaks around the world, click on this link: http://www.globalincidentmap.com/beta/disease-outbreaks-map 

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Check out Silent Fear on Amazon (it published Halloween, Oct 31, but can be pre-ordered now):

 

See you on the flip side, guys (if you survive the pandemic AND the serial killer in SILENT FEAR!)

James Morcan

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