Throughout the history of the world diseases and illnesses have plagued all living creatures. But it was the widespread pandemics that really terrorized the world. A pandemic is a widespread disease that is spread throughout an entire country, continent, or the whole world. Various aspects of the pandemics are interesting, how a virus evolved, to how fast it spread. A very recent pandemic that occurred happened in 2009, when the H1N1 broke out, or more commonly known as swine flu, broke out across the world. But it wasn’t the H1N1 virus that scientist were worried about.
It was actually the H1N5, or avian flu, that was thought to be the problem, especially since it was a major epidemic across the world that affected the poultry in parts of the world. The H1N1 virus was first detected in 2009 from a ten year old boy. The virus was a unique combination of influenza viruses never seen in other people or animals, but what was known was that the viruses’ genes were closely related to the North American swine lineage. On the other hand, no evidence was found that it directly came from the American swine supply.
So how did the swine influenza seem to appear in three different species? It simply evolved from the previous virus to fit its need. A very constant influenza virus that seems to be changing and going to and from different species is the avian flu. Most commonly influenza flu’s originate from aquatic birds, since they are usually the ones that are exposed the most to untreated waters. From there the virus mutates in order to find different hosts to infect. It can and has affected horses, ducks, chickens, seals, and other animals.
Usually the virus is transmitted in two ways: directly from infected birds or from avian flu contaminated environments to the host, or the virus goes through an intermediate host, such as a pig, and then is transmitted to the host. The most recent virus that has affected many different species is the West Nile virus. The first step of the transmission of the west Nile virus is when a mosquito bites an infected bird. The infected mosquito can then transmit the virus to another animal when it feeds again. If a female mosquito is infected, that’s when it is dangerous, because then it can infect horses and even humans.
A pandemic possibility that some scientists are studying, is the H5N1 strain, which is mostly know as the avian influenza. It could be a possible pandemic, judging by the fact that new strains develop and evolve almost every century. Malaria, another disease that could be transmitted from person to person or animal to animal is still being studied by scientist around the world, especially since it is responsible for many deaths in Africa, and some parts of Asia. Malaria is also transmitted by mosquitoes. Another pandemic that is occurring and is being studied are the STD’s or Sexually transmitted diseases.
The sexually transmitted diseases are one of the most dangerous, since most people who are infected have are not aware that they are infected, so they continue to be sexually active and transmit the disease to others. The World Health Organization has set a plan for a pandemic. They published a book named “Pandemic influenza preparedness”, it was to improve the framework for world pandemic preparedness and response. In the book it described what to do in order for a more efficient way to protect people from communal diseases that could possibly turn to an epidemic, then a pandemic.
Different countries have different levels of preparation than others. For example Africa has different procedures for the epidemic that it is facing with various diseases, than the United States does. There is a big risk for a worldwide pandemic, since viruses are constantly evolving and changing. Therefore viruses cannot be fully eradicated since they continue to evolve. Then there is the fact that the population increases to rise, therefore the more people are exposed to each other the more of a probability that a communal diseases can be transmitted. So in a way a world pandemic is unpreventable, since viruses continue to change.