What will be the next pandemic to hit North America?

Tom Weber is interviewing David Quammen this morning about his new book, Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic.

What will that next pandemic be? It’ll probably come from an animal. A pig. Possibly a rodent. Maybe even a seal.

Here’s what Quammen reported in The New York Times:

It will most likely be caused by a virus, not by a bacterium or some other kind of bug. More specifically, we should expect an RNA virus (specifically, one that bears its genome as a single molecular strand), as distinct from a DNA virus (carrying its info on the reliable double helix, less prone to mutation, therefore less variable and adaptable). Finally, this RNA virus will almost certainly be zoonotic — a pathogen that emerges from some nonhuman animal to infect, and spread among, human beings.

Do you worry about pandemics or epidemics? What changes would you like to see in our public health plans?

Want a brief virus tutorial? Pretend you are in a college lecture hall:

–Stephanie Curtis, social media host

  • JBL

    Do viruses that can jump to humans every get into pet populations? If cats or dogs ever get something, that could take down huge numbers of people. Or do their isolation from each other protect them, and by proxy, us?

  • Gaffa

    Just out of curiosity, are there any viruses that jump from humans to infect non-human animals in return?

  • RReynolds

    I think the next pandemic to hit will be the H3N8 virus it jumped from birds to seals but is also common in domestic animals like dogs and horses. Look it up scary stuff.