Watch special 20 viruses around the world that are spreading fast.
Those arriving from Africa, but also from exotic countries, are worrying. “We must not let our guard down. It is necessary to strengthen the pandemic plans” Fabrizio Pregliasco, medical director of the IRCCS Galeazzi Hospital told ANSA.
Therefore, it is no longer just Covid-19 and its variants that worry virologists around the world. Alongside the mutations of SARS-CoV-2, infectious disease experts are monitoring 20 “potentially pandemic” viruses, which arrive mainly from Africa, but which are no longer endemic and are spreading rapidly to other countries as well, from Indonesia to Brazil, from Central America to China, with a speed that worries the WHO. The focus is on Dengue, Zika, Chikungunya, and West Nile viruses, which are part of the arboviruses, a group of viruses that are transmitted to humans through mosquito bites.
In Italy there have already been outbreaks in the past, especially in the summer of 2022 and, as temperatures rise, they risk spreading even more. But alongside these, the Marburg virus is also overwhelmingly making its way forward, spread above all between Tanzania and Equatorial Guinea, for which the WHO has already signaled the risk of a new pandemic, and Avian flu, with cases in Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and China. “It is true that the attention on the Marburg virus is very high – says Pregliasco who is also an associate professor of General and Applied Hygiene at the University of Milan – it causes a hemorrhagic fever with very high mortality, like Ebola. The virus is mutating quickly. The strains have lowered lethality but have acquired a greater diffusion capacity. This must warn us of a possible new epidemic. Attention is also high on Avian flu. The data on the disease spread among animals in Brazil has put the country’s government on alert. Before there were more limited outbreaks, now there are wider episodes. There is a fear that a new variant on humans may spread”. In general, the increase in Yellow Fever outbreaks in African countries is also worrying; the spread of measles in Ethiopia and Indonesia, outbreaks of cholera in Africa, Central America and the Middle East; Lassa Fever, Diphtheria and Meningitis, currently confined to Nigeria; Poliovirus type 2, for which there has been a significant increase in cases not only in Africa but also in Indonesia. And again, the cases of Acute Hepatitis E in Southern Sudan, Ebola in Uganda, the Nipah Virus in Bangladesh, MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), Iatrogenic Botulism and Enterovirus Infection, which in the United Kingdom, in early May, were associated with a marked increase in severe myocarditis in newborns. “The pandemic has taught us that we must not let our guard down – says Pregliasco – Pandemic plans must be strengthened. It is necessary to introduce more systematic surveillance, coordinated monitoring at the veterinary level. We must resort to sewage analysis, because they can give a lot of information on the presence of the virus. Finally, we need to continue to communicate and inform. Especially in view of the summer, when the guard level is lowered and we travel more to exotic countries”.
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