Updated: Jun 16
It's 2020 and what will most of us remember of this year in terms of health? Covid-19! Half the year has gone by with most of us being confined to our homes for extended periods, except for the need to get vital necessities. In some places, those of a certain age are not allowed out at all.
For the majority of us, this is our first experience of a global pandemic.
Many regions of the world have experienced other deadly or highly infectious viruses in the last 100 years.
Let's go back in history to the Spanish flu of 1918 (H1N1). It was the deadliest pandemic in world history. It infected 500 million people globally in 3 waves and killed between 20 - 100 million people worldwide. This pandemic lasted for 15 months. Despite the name, it did not originate in Spain.
Spain was hit really hard during this pandemic. And the Spanish King, Alphonso XIII, was reported to have contracted the virus.
The actual cause is still not known, although there is speculation that in originated in China from labourers going to the western front, or a military camp in Kansas and spread throughout the US and Europe via troops during WW1. Some evidence shows that it could have originated from a farm animal in the American Midwest by transmitting among animals before mutating to a form that could infect humans.
Viruses are always mutating. Hence why we can still catch a cold or the flu, even though we have had it before. The strains are always slightly different each time.
However, there is evidence to show that 6 in 10 viruses originated from animals. Bats are excellent hosts for many viruses as they have a highly sophisticated immune response to invading viruses. Their immune system is always on alert and has the ability to fence viruses out of their cells. Bats transmit these viruses through their saliva, feces and urine. If a bat is stressed, it will shed viruses faster through those means. This can go on to infect other animals, who then become intermediary hosts of these viruses, which will then infect humans.
The reason why we have had so many zoonotic episodes, is because we have been converting a huge amount of land for industrial animal agriculture and coming into contact with more wildlife. These displaced bats have nowhere else to go and end up finding homes close to humans and farmed animals.
This list will demonstrate the origins of many viral infections:
Chickens - chicken pox, shingles, various strains of bird flu
Pigs - influenza
Cattle - measles, smallpox, TB
AIDS - presumably from eating a chimp infected with a simian form of AIDS
SARS - possibly from a mongoose -like civet cat (originating from bats)
MERS - also from bats, to camels then humans
Ebola - bats
Covid-19 - bats through pangolins
Can you see a pattern now? Many of these viruses originated from animals. Many of which we have domesticated and are bred in deplorable conditions that reduce the immunity of these animals, as they are kept in highly stressful, confined spaces filled with thousands of other animals.
We have created these problems through the way we eat. It is up to us to change our eating habits to be in harmony and alignment with nature.
We cannot keep eating the way we do, otherwise more pandemics will arise which may likely be more deadly.