The Next Pandemic


Fall fairs bring up changing leaves, funnel cake, and - swine flu.

Swine flu?

Yep - fall fairs involve AG fairs that involve a barn full of pigs which raises the risk of spreading new types of swine flu.

Zoonotic diseases, which are viruses and bacteria passed to humans from animals, are behind six out ten known infectious diseases in people. COVID-nineteen is the most recent. In the US, we tend to think these diseases come from elsewhere, but that's not true. For example, since two thousand eleven, there have been more cases of swine flu in the US than anywhere else in the world.

Most cases were tied to agricultural shows and fairs. Pigs can be infected by bird, human and pig viruses all at the same time. Since the genetic information of the flu virus is divided into eight segments, if a pig cell is infected by two or more types of flu, those segments can get mixed up to create an entirely new flu virus. That's how new flu viruses get made risk starting a new pandemic. It is estimated that at least one pig tests positive for flu at twenty-five percent of all fairs.

Although many fairs have hand sanitation stations, few people use them. Some fairs are careful and send pigs home after seventy-two hours, before flu symptoms can appear.

The next pandemic is waiting for us. We can support and encourage our public health system to be vigilant. We must ignore the misinformation put out by politicians and news outlets that lack the expertise to comment on public health policies.

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More Information

Could the Next Pandemic Start at the County Fair?
Since 2011, there have been more human swine flu cases reported in the United States than anywhere else in the world. Most have occurred at farm-animal showcases...

Influenza Virus Genome Sequencing and Genetic Characterization
Influenza viruses are constantly changing, in fact all influenza viruses undergo genetic changes over time (for more information, see How Flu Viruses Can Change: "Drift" and "Shift"). An influenza virus' genome consists of all genes that make up the virus. CDC conducts year-round surveillance of circulating influenza viruses to monitor changes in the genome of these viruses...

Zoonotic Diseases
Animals provide many benefits to people. However, animals can sometimes carry harmful germs that can spread to people and cause illness - these are known as zoonotic diseases or zoonoses...