Flu-like pandemic can ‘circulate the world in 36 hours and kill 80 million’

Flu-like pandemic can ‘circulate the world in 36 hours and kill 80 million’


A deadly outbreak of a flu-like illness could kill 80 million people across the world in less than two days, experts have warned The world is not prepared for the “very real threat” of a pandemic, according to a panel led by the ex-chief of the World Health Organisation A century ago the Spanish flu pandemic infected a third of the world’s population and killed 50 million people If a similar outbreak were to happen with today’s constantly-travelling population, the effects could be even worse, the report has suggested An equivalent air-borne outbreak now could spread globally in less than 36 hours and kill an estimated 50 million to 80 million people Such a pandemic would wipe out nearly 5% of the global economy and destabilise security in the affected countries, according to the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB) In the case of a pandemic, many national health systems – particularly in poor countries – would collapse The report contained a world map showing examples of emerging and re-emerging diseases which could trigger an outbreak – from human monkeypox and H1N1 influenza to Ebola and plague The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB), a team of health experts led by a former chief of the World Health Organization, has produced the report to try and spur world leaders into action “The threat of a pandemic spreading around the globe is a real one,” the group said in a report released today “A quick-moving pathogen has the potential to kill tens of millions of people, disrupt economies and destabilise national security ” The report, named A World At Risk, said current efforts to prepare for outbreaks in the wake of crises such as Ebola are “grossly insufficient” The GPMB is headed by Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, the former Norwegian prime minister and director-general of the WHO, and Mr Alhadj As Sy, the secretary-general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies It said in its report that recommendations it made in an earlier report have been largely ignored by world leaders “Many of the recommendations reviewed were poorly implemented, or not implemented at all, and serious gaps persist,” the GPMB wrote “For too long, we have allowed a cycle of panic and neglect when it comes to pandemics: we ramp up efforts when there is a serious threat, then quickly forget about them when the threat subsides It is well past time to act.” The report contained a map of the world with a list of possible infections which could trigger the hypothetical outbreak These were split into “newly emerging” and “re-emerging/resurging”. Among the former were the Ebola, Zika and Nipah viruses, and five types of flu And the latter included West Nile virus, antibiotic resistance, measles, acute flaccid myelitis, Yellow fever, Dengue, plague and human monkeypox The report referenced the damage done by the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and said modern advances in international travel would help the disease spread faster With vast numbers of people crossing the world on planes every day, an equivalent air-borne outbreak now could spread globally in less than 36 hours and kill an estimated 50 million to 80 million people, it said

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