The next pandemic pathogen will surprise us, but it won’t be a surprise.

Maybe it will be influenza. Maybe tuberculosis. Maybe an old pathogenic foe. Or maybe a deliberate act from a bad actor. Whatever the scenario is, we’re not ready.

René F. Najera, MPH, DrPH
Microbial Instincts

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This is a medical illustration of drug-resistant, Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. The bacteria appear purple on a dark blue background. The bacteria are elongated, almost cigar-shaped, and they are clustered in a group.
Et tu, Mycobacterium?

If you only have a minute, here’s the TL;DR version…

I discuss the possibility of future pandemics and suggest that influenza and drug-resistant tuberculosis are among the most likely candidates for pathogens that cause a pandemic. I also discuss the potential for intentional release of smallpox and the need for pandemic preparedness. The post highlights the importance of public health education and training, as well as the need to unburden healthcare practitioners from political influence.

Okay, so you have more than a minute…

With the COVID-19 pandemic receding — and the Public Health Emergency of International Concern declared over — we epidemiologists and public health practitioners can’t help but wonder what the next pandemic will be. As it is, we have two other pandemics that have been going on for decades before the COVID-19 pandemic, and even before the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.

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René F. Najera, MPH, DrPH
Microbial Instincts

DrPH in Epidemiology. Public Health Instructor. Father. Husband. "All around great guy."