I’ve noticed that some of the extreme disaster scenarios, aka TEOTWAWKI, often discussed by preppers and survivalists, have started to be accepted as real possibilities by the mainstream media. For example, epidemic. Due to recent outbreaks of MERS, Zika, and Ebola, along with the increase of bacteria resistant to most or all known antibiotics, a pandemic has become thinkable.
“A report by The International Working Group (IWG) on Financing Pandemic Preparedness — a bloc of business, academic and non-profit experts created by the World Bank — said many countries are chronically under-invested in critical public health infrastructure.” [CNBC]
Business Insider recently featured an article opining that “The next pandemic is coming.” An out-of-control disease epidemic could be the result of nature getting ahead of medical science, as when a virus spreads rapidly, before an effective vaccine is available. Or it could be an act of malice: “As Bill Gates wrote in a recent op-ed for Business Insider, a terrorist attack could involve the creation of a particularly contagious and deadly flu strain.”
How bad could it get? “In other words, bacteria around the world are adapting and becoming resistant to our existing antibiotics. As this continues, we could return to an era where a simple scratch becomes deadly — unless we find new types of antibiotics to stay ahead.”
A recent Time.com article trumpets much the same warning. The title is “The World Is Not Ready for the Next Pandemic“. And as somber an authority as the CDC is now voicing serious concerns.
“The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranks H7N9 as the flu strain with the greatest potential to cause a pandemic–an infectious-disease outbreak that goes global. If a more contagious H7N9 were to be anywhere near as deadly as it is now, the death toll could be in the tens of millions.”
But maybe the next pandemic won’t be the flu, or another virus, or an antibiotic resistant bacteria. There is some legitimate concern that a “superbug fungus” might cause an epidemic. A Superbug Fungus Is Spreading Across the U.S. The fungus is the yeast Candida auris, which the CDC says “has been causing severe illness in hospitalized patients.”
Why is the CDC worried about a fungus? “It is often multidrug-resistant….” And it is hard to identify. Plus, it can spread rapidly in a hospital environment, where many patients have weakened immune systems and disease can jump from patient to staff to patient.
Whatever the cause, a pandemic is no longer a merely theoretical disaster. The emergence of new diseases and the spread of multidrug resistant pathogens is increasing the likelihood that we may face a pandemic in the near future.