KEEP | National Bio-surveillance Advisory Sub-committee: living in age of pandemics

January 1, 2000

“We might be entering an Age of Pandemics…a broad array of dangerous emerging 21st-century diseases, man-made or natural, brand-new or old, newly resistant to our current vaccines and antiviral drugs,” says epidemiologist Dr. Larry Brilliant, chairman of the National Biosurveillance Advisory Subcommittee and chief philanthropy evangelist at Google.

Astronomer Royal Martin Rees agrees, and bet $1,000 that bioterror or bioerror would unleash a catastrophic event claiming one million lives in the next two decades.

Contributing factors include: less forest, more contact with animals, more meat eating (Africans last year consumed nearly 700 million wild animals; numbers of chickens raised for food in China have increased 1,000-fold over the past few decades), and farmers cut down jungle, creating deforested areas that once served as barriers to the zoonotic viruses.

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