The Ebola virus

WHO is clear: we are on the brink of a global pandemic.

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The problem is most serious. A global pandemic could erupt at any time. It could wipe out much of the human life on the planet. This apocalyptic vision is not that of a hoot or a Hollywood writer with an unbridled imagination. No, it is the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) who has just announced it at the world summit of governments currently taking place in Dubai.
 
Tedros Adhanom, the Director-General of the WHO spoke yesterday 12 February in front of a distinguished audience: that of the government summit that's being held in Dubai. In icy silence, he announces that the apocalypse has never been so close. « This is not a nightmare scenario of the future, "he says. " This is what happened exactly one hundred years ago during the Spanish flu epidemic ".
In a terribly serious tone he continues: « A devastating epidemic could start in any country at any time and kill millions of people because we are not yet ready. The world remains vulnerable. "
 
What is to be feared, what would be the cause of such vulnerability when we are told every day of scientific and medical progress as the world has never known? Could it be an uncontrolled Ebola epidemic? Or is it rabies, which is returning in some countries? Or is it AIDS regaining strength?
Not at all. The threat of a global pandemic, which would kill at least 100 million people, comes from our apathy. Our refusal to save ourselves. A refusal caused by our indifference and greed.
 
You suddenly seem reassured. The threat isn't coming from some little bug that might want to hurt us. If the threat comes from us, it doesn't seem so serious. That CEO scared us.
 
Dr Tedros Adhanom, Director General of WHO
 
But Dr. Tedros Adhanom continues: « Universal health coverage is the greatest threat to global health ». The head of the WHO insists: "While universal health coverage is within reach of almost every country in the world," he said. 3.5 billion people still do not have access to essential health services. "One out of every two earthlings is untreated.
 
The figure is shuddering, but its reality does not only cover a "humanitarian" issue. When people don't go to the doctor because they can't afford it, they don't take treatment when they are sick. They die. It is tragic, but the consequences are even more tragic. Indeed, in front of a stunned audience, the speaker said: "... I'm not going to go to the doctor. The first signs of an epidemic are missed. ".
 
Already, diseases that were thought to be forgotten are coming back: to MadagascarThe most virulent form of pneumonic plague, which is spread by a simple sneeze, claimed about 100 victims last August. In Ugandaan outbreak of the deadly Marburg virus causing highly infectious haemorrhagic fevers has infected hundreds of people.
From then on, the scenario is well known: rapid spread on the planet, favoured by travel, globalisation, migration, tourism ...
 
Public health agencies around the world have only one means of protection: surveillance, to be able to anticipate and prevent risks. To do this, they need the means. But governments are increasingly grumbling. The most symptomatic example comes from the United States, where the Trump administration has decided to reduce by 80 % the epidemic prevention programs that fall under the jurisdiction of the CDC (Centers for Deseases Control). According to the Washington PostIn 39 of the 49 countries where epidemics have broken out, programs for the prevention of infectious diseases such as Ebola have been scaled back in 39 of the 49 countries where epidemics have broken out.
Money is the lifeblood of the war against pandemics. All too often, however, governments see health as a cost, not an investment.
 
For the WHO, no one knows where and when the next global pandemic will occur. But Tedros Adhanom warns forcefully: " What we do know is that it will have disastrous consequences on both human life and the economy ». Of course, there is no guarantee that there will never be an epidemic. There is no such thing as zero risk. But we can implement the means to prevent pathogens from taking control. We must.
 
Sources: Futurism, Washington Post
Header image the Ebola virus

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