Former CDC Director Believes Next Pandemic Will Be Caused By The Bird Flu

Robert Redfield, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recently stated that the next pandemic could be caused by the bird flu. 

Additionally, the World Health Organization recently announced the first human death from bird flu in Mexico, and the virus itself has been found in cattle across dairy farms in the US, according to reports

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“I really do think it’s very likely that we will, at some time, it’s not a question of if, it’s more of a question of when we will have a bird flu pandemic,” Redfield said to NewsNation last week. 

He also discussed that the mortality rate will likely be much higher in a bird flu pandemic versus what the world experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic had a mortality rate that was 0.6%, and Redfield predicts the mortality “for the bird flu would probably be somewhere between 25 and 50%.”

The Hill reported that by late May, the CDC had found the third case of an individual diagnosed with bird flu within three months. Each case was found in a farmworker, but were unrelated to each other. The main symptoms included a cough and pink eye. 

As of right now, there is no direct evidence that suggests the virus is spreading amongst humans right now. 

Health experts and researchers found that in order for the bird flu to be able to connect to a human receptor, five amino acids have to change their key receptors. If that does occur, the virus would spread like Covid-19 did. 

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“Once the virus gains the ability to attach to the human receptor and then go human to human, that’s when you’re going to have the pandemic,” Redfield said

“I think it’s just a matter of time.”

While Redfield stated that it’s hard to predict how long it would take for the amino acids to change, but the fact that it’s been detected in cattle across the US is concerning. 

The CDC reported that more than 40 herds of cattle have been infected with the virus. They’ve been following wastewater treatment sites to track where the virus is originating from, and said that there’s low risk of the virus spreading throughout the public. 

The cattle infected live in the vicinity of pigs, which could allow the virus to evolve from pigs to humans, however, Redfield stated there’s more of a severe risk that the virus will be grown in a lab and spread that way. 

“I know exactly what amino acids I have to change because in 2012, against my recommendation, the scientists that did these experiments actually published them. So, the recipe for how to make bird flu highly infectious for humans is already out there,” he said.