Cause of next pandemic with 50% death rate among infected predicted | World | News by StuffsEarth

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The former chief of the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a chilling forecast warning that bird flu could be the source of the next global pandemic, potentially claiming the lives of half of those it infects.

Dr Robert Redfield, who led the CDC from 2018 to 2021, has sounded the alarm over the potential for a bird flu outbreak to become the next major health crisis. His comments come in the wake of a confirmation by the World Health Organization (WHO) that a 59-year-old man from Mexico succumbed to the H5N2 strain of bird flu, marking the first human fatality linked to this virus.

“I really do think it’s very likely that we will, at some time, it’s not a question of if, it’s more of a question of when we will have a bird flu pandemic,” Dr Redfield cautioned during an interview with NewsNation.

In the United States, the bird flu virus is already wreaking havoc among livestock, with numerous outbreaks affecting dairy cows and over a thousand poultry flocks, as reported by the US Department of Agriculture.

According to the latest figures from the CDC, four individuals in the US have been infected with bird flu. The third case, which emerged last month and was initially reported by The Hill, marked the third human infection since March, reports the Mirror.

These cases, all detected in farmworkers, were unrelated and presented mostly mild symptoms such as coughing and conjunctivitis. To date, no human-to-human transmission has been observed, and the CDC currently assesses the risk to the general public as low.

Despite the current assessment, Dr Redfield’s stark warning suggests a grim outlook should the virus begin to spread more widely among humans.

“Unfortunately when [bird flu] does enter humans, it has a significant mortality. Probably somewhere between 25% and 50% mortality,” he said.

Comparatively, the mortality rate of Covid-19 is 0.6%.

Between 2003 to 2024, 889 human H5N1 bird flu cases have been reported worldwide from 23 countries, according to WHO. Out of those, 463 died leading to a mortality rate of 52%.

Dr Redfield highlighted: “It’s likely to spread through aerosols and droplets.”

Five amino acids must mutate to allow bird flu to attach to human receptors.

“Once the virus gains the ability to attach to human receptors, and then go human-to-human, that’s when you’re going to have the pandemic,” remarked Dr Redfield.

“Like I said, I think it’s just a matter of time.”

Dr Redfield conveyed his concern over the presence of the bird flu in cattle across the US; approximately 90 dairy herds across 12 states have been impacted as per the latest CDC figures.

He noted that the worry extends beyond animal to human transmission including the three US cases linked to dairy cows. The greater alarm was prompted by an outbreak emanating from lab-grown bird flu.

“I know exactly what amino acids I have to change because in 2012, against my recommendation, the scientists that did these experiments actually published them,” he declared.

“So, the recipe for how to make bird flu highly infectious for humans is already out there.”

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