How One Contagion Can Spread Throughout the World and Create a Pandemic…

by Dr Sam Girgis on September 13, 2011

The new film “Contagion” from Warner Brothers and Participant Media was strategically released to coincide with the start of the yearly influenza season.  The influenza virus has the potential to cause devastating and deadly pandemics throughout the world.  In 2009, the H1N1 influenza virus caused widespread panic and exerted a significant strain upon the healthcare systems of many countries.  The 1918 Great Flu Epidemic killed over 50 million people.  This influenza outbreak was one of the worst in recorded history and killed more people than World War I, which was occurring at the same time.  On a yearly basis, the influenza virus kills over 500,000 people all over the world.  Each year, the pharmaceutical companies develop a new vaccine which is tailored to the currently spreading influenza virus.  We have previously discussed the recent discovery of a broadly neutralizing influenza antibody, which may pave the way for a single universal flu vaccine.  With this new knowledge, scientists will be able to hopefully one day develop a vaccine that can be used once instead of having to be given every year as the virus mutates.  One question that is of particular relevance, and important to understand, is just how does the influenza virus spread from chickens and pigs on the other side of the world in China to people in the United States?

The following video answers this question in an entertaining manner and explains how we can all avoid contracting Bieber Fever…

Contagion :: How a Virus Changes the World from TakePart on Vimeo.

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