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Food is a deeply social and personal choice, but I am glad we have safety regulations in place. I’m only commenting on this article because it’s not right to mention something like raw milk in an even semi-supportive context (such as that you might be able to buy it even though it’s forbidden), because that runs contrary to the prevailing evidence about it’s dangers. The Prepared has always seemed very fact based to me and it is a fact that raw milk is far more dangerous than pasteurized.  No inspection process is ever going to be perfect, but evidence shows having some regulation is better than not having any at all which is currently the case with unregulated nonpasteurized dairy products:  “We found 121 outbreaks for which the product’s pasteurization status was known; among these, 73 (60%) involved nonpasteurized products and resulted in 1,571 cases, 202 hospitalizations, and 2 deaths. A total of 55 (75%) outbreaks occurred in 21 states that permitted sale of nonpasteurized products; incidence of nonpasteurized product–associated outbreaks was higher in these states. Nonpasteurized products caused a disproportionate number (≈150× greater/unit of product consumed) of outbreaks and outbreak-associated illnesses and also disproportionately affected persons <20 years of age. “ Just as you point out that pasteurization isn’t mythical-neither is raw milk. Raw milk is not some magical elixir and there is no evidence it is better for you than pasteurized products, yet there is evidence it’s a lot risker to consume than pasteurized products. Contamination in some of the outbreaks you mentioned may actually have come from the processing facilities, not the milk (see point #5 in the Blue Bell article  linked), and in the same article you linked about the Blue Bell Listeria outbreak, the following is written: “foods that have historically harbored Listeria include unpasteurized or raw milk and unpasteurized soft cheeses” Farm conditions and animal welfare vary, but that’s a personal anecdote you mention about cleanliness and thus it can’t be applied broadly to all farms. To keep this in context I’d like to point out the following from NY Health: “In New York State, raw milk may only be sold at dairy farms that hold a permit from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Permitted farms are required to maintain proper sanitation, animal health, packaging procedures, routine inspections, sampling and testing. Permitted farms must also post signs that warn that raw milk does not provide the protection of pasteurization.” Why are they still required to post a warning sign despite taking all these precautions and complying with testing regulations?  Because no matter how careful and clean the farmer is, we know that raw milk is just not as safe as pasteurized milk because the data tells us so. 

Since The Prepared is all about getting the facts out there I just wanted to bring attention to the fact that raw milk is incredibly unsafe for anyone to drink which is why raw milk is banned in so many places. We pasteurize dairy products for a reason and while there are some myths about raw milk the FDA and the CDC is working really hard to dispel them. From the FDA: “Pasteurizing milk does NOT cause lactose intolerance and allergic reactions. Pasteurization does NOT reduce milk’s nutritional value. Pasteurization DOES kill harmful bacteria. Pasteurization DOES save lives.” Myth dispelled by the CDC: “If you’re thinking about consuming raw milk because you believe it is a good source of beneficial bacteria, you need to know that you may instead get sick from the harmful bacteria.” According to the CDC: “Raw milk can carry dangerous germs, such as Brucella, Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella.” All of these infections can potentially land you in a hospital. There is no good reason to drink raw milk when we so easily have access to pasteurized products and unfortunately anyone stating otherwise is misinformed. No matter how careful a farmer is or how much you trust them, you run a big risk by drinking raw milk and it can put your health in jeopardy and no one wants to land in a hospital staggering under the weight of the pandemic for an infection caused by unsafe dairy products. Check out the CDC’s page for raw milk outbreaks here. As the health risks of raw milk come to light it has driven some of the market for it in the U.S. underground, which makes it even more dangerous as there is zero regulation.  I say all of this as a former farm kid who stupidly drank raw milk – be a smart, sane prepper, and stick with the pasteurized stuff. There is an interesting fallacy where people assume they are safe doing something risky (like drinking raw milk) because they haven’t had anything to contaminate (quite literally) their experience thus far so assume their continued safety is assured (“I’ve done it for years, no issues!” etc etc ). To be blunt-the risk is the same each time, and doing something risky with no evidence of benefit (besides others personal anecdotes about how great it is which are usually inaccurate and not fact based) is never a grand idea. Want to buy local? Look for a local creamery that pasteurizes their products and has to be inspected for food safety. 

A great question. Unfortunately as I started to look into this topic I’ve yet to find actions the average individual can take to reliably protect themselves from fungal pathogens (although deciding to take personal action to do what we can to not contribute to increase global temperatures would be great) and I think that’s what makes this issue such a concern as that’s a huge vulnerability to a rising class of pathogens. The reason I wanted to post this was simply to bring awareness to a situation we have reached a tipping point in that the average person likely isn’t aware of. Some items of note I’ve found that are relevant to preparedness: Some fungal infections are only prevalent in certain regions so it’s worth noting that risk when considering traveling to those places.  Even just talking about this issue is important. Would the way we met COVID-19 (as a community, a nation, a world) have been better and less fraught and less catastrophic if a greater proportion of the public had been aware that we weren’t prepared to handle a respiratory pandemic and had pushed for preparedness or prepared themselves? (I recognize that this article I’ve linked is from The Atlantic and definitely has some political leanings, but I’m linking it because it includes the 12+ major irrefutable ways we were warned by experts that we weren’t ready for a respiratory pandemic and it would be more of a hassle to link them all separately in this post) There are only three available classes of antifungals and some Candida auris strains (usually linked to outbreaks in a healthcare setting) are resistant to all three. Here is a map of Candida auris cases in the USA for the past year or so. Notice many of the cases actually occur in places that are neither hot nor humid (like New York).

I finished my undergraduate degree at Cornell University in December 2020 and just moved to start my PhD program. In no particular order prepping in college for me looked like: 1. Having my own vehicle so I never had to rely on anyone else for a way to get supplies like groceries or for a way to get home for a significant emergency event. It can be expensive to have a vehicle as an undergraduate with regular maintenance and gas but it was so worth it to me for peace of mind, and when everyone at my university was given two weeks to get off campus in March 2020 due to the pandemic it took me less than 48 hours to take a calculus exam I had already scheduled, pack everything I owned, tie up loose ends with my biomedical research in my lab and head home to my parents farm where I stayed to do the rest of the semester online. A true bug out situation, as there was no option to stay on campus, nor was it safe to do so. If you can’t for any reason have a car, then become REALLY good friends with a few people who do have them. Also, I always parked my vehicle facing out of a parking space (good for leaving quickly and dealing with inclement weather) and I always had a full tank of gas in it when I parked. It’s also nice to park under lighting if you aren’t familiar with the area. 2. Have a go-bag. I started with a go-bag (instead of the prepared home that most preppers start with before moving to a go-bag) because as an undergraduate I was constantly moving: in and out of dorms, campus to home and back again for college breaks, study abroad etc. In these situations having a go bag with basic essentials served me better than trying to keep lots of items in a dorm room where space is a premium and I would have had to haul them back and forth and up and down the stairs. 3. I always kept a stock of water in my dorm room just in case and I often had at least some of the foods mentioned by others in the comments just in case. That being said I never had an issue with the dining halls or my meal plan at my undergraduate institution.  4. See if you can find preparedness minded peers on campus because that can be a great resource to continue your growth. Lots of campuses have a truly enormous number of clubs, and there is always an opportunity cost to joining one and not another so just go with what works best for you and learn to be ok with not being able to do it all. There might not be a ‘prepper specific group’ (although if you’re so inclined you could probably form one) but don’t discount checking out EMT groups, wilderness groups etc. 5. When I was starting as a freshman someone told me about ‘The Rule of Five’. Basically, they held up their hand and said “as you are entering a different stage in life and making huge adjustments to being more independent you can probably only realistically do five things really well and sustainably.” Basically the things you are really committed to and that add value to your life should be countable on your hand to avoid burnout. They then ticked off on their fingers: “Sleeping, eating and studying. These are three priorities you have to have to be sustainable at this stage, that means you can pick two more things to focus your energy into.” For you ‘The Rule of Five’ may reflect your prepping priorities and could look like: “Sleeping, eating, studying, prepping and [insert other activity/focus here].” I found this to be really useful advice to follow and as you adjust to independence and college life you can add more things in because you better understand what you can sustainably do at one time. 6. I always had an emergency $50 in my wallet and also kept some of my savings liquid. I worked 1-2 part time jobs (I was a paid biomedical researcher and I was also paid to tutor some other students) while in school. Working may not be necessary for you depending on your financial situation, but I was in the position where I needed to pay for my own education and I wanted to be able to cover my own needs like groceries etc. I started working as a freshman because it was important for me to build up my savings and I wanted to eventually start investing. I was able to do both successfully and I’m happy with where I am financially today. Personal finance is a huge part of preparedness. I recommend the book ‘Your Money or Your Life’ which is not only great financial advice, but may also be insightful to you as you decide what you want to do to make money/as a career. 7. As far as raising dorm beds for prepping space, make sure it’s “legal” in your dorm to avoid having issues (like fines or a fire safety citation) and if it is, make sure that you also do it safely. Many places don’t actually allow it anymore because it’s considered a safety hazard.  8. The most useful prep I had besides a vehicle, a small stock of water and shelf stable food and a go-bag in college was keeping a supply of over the counter medications/supplies in my dorm. College health clinics are not always places you want to hike across campus to get to if you don’t feel well and having things like basic painkillers for headaches, an ice pack, any prescriptions you may need, bandages, etc. can make your life so much easier. It’s also worth it to get established with a primary care provider at your college clinic (especially if you are far from home) while you feel well so they have a baseline and you are more comfortable with who you will see when you aren’t feeling well. Self-advocacy is important in this context. If you need a certain type of care and aren’t getting it – speak up. 9. Education is really important for prepping. The Prepared has a book list you may want to check out. I have read many of the books on it, and they were valuable enough for me to keep them as a reference and carry them with me for my various moves into different dorms and apartments throughout college. I hope this is useful to you as you transition into college. Good luck!

Glad you found my write-up useful! I think antibiotic resistance has so many stakeholders and you bring up a great point about starting the conversation with clinicians about their recommendations surrounding antibiotics. This isn’t to say clinicians are to blame for the problem (nor does the blame rest solely with agriculturists who use antibiotics – another common target). We all share some responsibility. I think the antibiotic resistance issue was almost inevitable in a way-we really haven’t had access to antibiotics for that long of a stretch of time-and we were bound to find the limitations of the effectiveness of the current products at some point. Antibiotics are a tool, and we used them as a tool without good stewardship for a long time, and in some cases we continue to apply them to tasks they are not suited to be used for which is ruining the effectiveness of a tool that we previously took for granted. The guidelines around acne treatment have changed due to antibiotic resistance! Individuals don’t typically develop immunity to antibiotics from taking them (even if the antibiotics are used  frequently). Instead, it is the bacteria responsible for the infections that become resistant through antibiotic exposure and if these bacteria then spread to another person, they could potentially cause an antibiotic resistant infection in the new individual/host.

I’m glad you find this helpful, I certainly learn a lot and really enjoying diving into infectious disease research and laying out the facts. I wanted to respond to your point about viral recombination (specifically about recombination of a viral hemorrhagic fever and influenza), but needed to do some follow-up research in order to make a clear point. Here goes:   In order to recombine viruses need some very specific conditions: the viruses must be co-habitating in a host cell & interact during replication.  There are many different families of viruses and not all can recombine due to hybrid incompatibility(this article mentions plant viruses since you have expressed an interest). Generally speaking recombination occurs between viruses of the same type (for example, an influenza virus recombining with another influenza virus).  If you follow Occam’s Razor, which basically suggests that the simplest/most straightforward explanation that requires no great leaps is the most likely/the most plausible then we have more to worry about from a novel spillover event of a virus that’s not habituated to using us as a host and thus is deadly to us, then to worry about from a potentially deadly recombination of pre-existing viruses which takes very specific conditions within a host (co-infection) and viral compatibility to occur. I think recombining flu viruses are concerning (the 1918 influenza is a terrifying example), but I have rarely heard major concerns expressed over viruses recombining across families. The ‘pay-off’ of viral recombination for the virus could be “expansion of host ranges…the alteration of transmission vector specificities, increases in virulence and pathogenesis…evasion of host immunity, and the evolution of resistance to antivirals.” which ties in to the concerning ‘extinction event’ scenario you mentioned.  With all this info in mind: Marburg (and Ebola) are viral hemorrhagic fevers in the Filioviridae family  and influenza is of the Orthomyxoviridae family. Both of these pathogens also have very different ‘transmission/vector specificities’ as one is primarily spread through close contact with infectious fluids like blood etc. and the other is a respiratory virus.  Viral recombination is an interesting thought question (as is the plant to animal ‘kingdom jump’ question) and part of the fascinating ever-changing landscape of the field of emerging infectious diseases where new issues crop up all the time. However, a recombination of this type it is likely not a major worry for preppers (as there is no special prep for a major viral extinction scenario) and we must focus on what we can truly prepare for. A concern I have in this vein that should be on preppers radars is how bacteria incorporate new genetic material which confers antibiotic resistance to bacterial species. This is very concerning and impacts an estimated two million people annually in the United States alone. The World Health Organization has expressed concerns that the world is running out of effective antibiotics, and this could present serious challenges to the standards of health we currently have in many countries. That’s a serious preparedness challenge.  I stumbled upon an edition of The Economist’s July 2019 “The World If” series. Basically, it’s a fictional take on what happens if [insert event here]. This one focused on what would happen if we no longer had access to antibiotics, due to the rise of antibiotic resistance. I stress that this account is FICTION, but it is chilling to read the authors take on what the world may look like with no or severely reduced access to effective antibiotics. It definitely got me thinking about how to prep for a future without antibiotics.    I’m going to start a thread on prepping for a future without antibiotics.

I appreciate that you got this thread going-I’ve been spinning on it mentally but since there is so much information out I wasn’t sure how to kickstart an EID thread and keep it relevant to as many people as possible.  Viruses aren’t alive, and I think an interesting note to make is that you can find viruses pretty much anywhere-but finding them in an environment doesn’t mean they are 1) still viable and 2) can infect you via route of transmission from whatever non-host environment they are occupying. I have no doubt avian influenza can survive in water and that it exists in high quantity in areas like lakes or ponds frequented by waterfowl that carry it and excrete it into the water. But can it actually infect humans via that pathway? Unlikely. Here’s why: Influenza is a respiratory illness. In order to be infected, you need to be exposed to respiratory droplets carrying the virus and inhale them/get them into mucus membranes/your mouth or nose. That’s why we see close contact between birds (often in agriculture) and humans who are managing them resulting in the majority of avian flu infections. Currently the WHO says that while there are potentially other routes of transmission for avian flu “including ingestion, for example ingestion of contaminated water, there is, as yet, no evidence of this reported.”That’s not to say it couldn’t happen, but we typically associate other diseases like cholera with contaminated water, because that’s the pathway of infection cholera has evolved to occupy. Influenza evolved to be a respiratory illness.  As to COVID-19 it definitely isn’t replicating outside the body as viruses are obligate intracellular parasites-part of the reason viruses have been argued to fail the ‘are they alive’ test is because they can’t replicate outside a host. I like the way this blurb explains viruses surviving outside the body although the survival conditions they describe do vary between viruses. Some viruses essentially have more ‘protection’ and can survive longer outside the body, but depending on the infectious dose needed to cause illness, perhaps only a few have to survive to cause illness. Eventually viruses will degrade in the environment.  I particularly like this figure explaining virus inactivation outside a host: I saw the plant virus article you linked-the authors note that it is still to be determined wether or not the plant virus they describe has completed the ‘kingdom jump’ from plants to humans. They did not fulfill Koch’s postulates to verify their findings so nothing can be said for certain. Koch’s Postulates:

The only CRISPR mosquito research I’m familiar with is this publication which is concerned with making mosquitoes resistant to transmitting malaria. This research isn’t related to anything else that has been discussed in this thread thus far, but could be of interest to prepper’s who may find themselves in an area that is newly endemic with malaria by 2050. I don’t worry about equine diseases except Eastern Equine Encephalitis which is vectored by mosquitoes (just wear bug spray to be safe, there are less than 10 cases per year in U.S.A. and horses are now vaccinated) and Hendra (bat to horse to human transmission, extremely rare). I have never seen any scientific literature suggesting mosquitoes are drawn to biting dead bodies, and unless you have a sound scientific source confirming it, this is likely a myth to be discarded . It also bears repeating: dead bodies are not great hosts for infectious diseases because the host environment supporting the pathogen has ceased to function. Majority of people will never come in contact with a body that is infectious in nature. Even in a hypothetical scenario of a highly contagious novel disease, you’re unlikely to have someone infected staggering onto your property with the responsibility of caring for their body then falling to you. That’s Hollywood, not reality. If people are that sick, they aren’t going to be traveling some far distance, wandering in a direction they don’t know.  To your suggestion that there is restricted access to info – realistically speaking if mosquito transmission of the nature you are suggesting was actually real – we would see a much higher prevalence of many vectored diseases than we currently see simply because these vectors would transmitting diseases from those living who are infected to those living who are uninfected. If they aren’t transmitting a disease from one live body to another, they certainly won’t be transmitting it from one dead body to one live body. Arthropods (like ticks and mosquitoes) are vectors of many diseases, however many diseases aren’t at all adapted to being vectored by an arthropod.  You need to seriously re-evaluate where you are getting your information, as there is NO evidence what-so-ever that mosquitoes can transmit HIV (which causes AIDS).

To clarify my point on “avoiding eating sick or already dead animals”. This applies to a situation where there is no food safety inspection entity or there is one but it’s not trustworthy by your standards (or accessible). In a survival scenario I would only eat meat as a very last resort unless I had previously stored it as a prep and I knew it was inspected/safe. This is despite my background on a livestock farm and knowing the basics to butcher animals like chickens/pigs/cows and field dress deer etc. As a child, I ate venison, now as an adult who is in the emerging infectious disease field? No chance. You just don’t know an animals health status unless it is your own livestock (and even then-do you really? I’d trust something from my parent’s farm but definitely not anywhere else) or if it has been inspected by a food safety entity you trust. If you don’t know how an animal died-obviously you should not be eating it because most living things don’t die of old age-they die of some type of condition that caused a breakdown in function. Maybe it was infectious, maybe not. Why chance it?  If it displays signs of neurologic disease before death-also assume you should not ingest it. If it displays any signs of illness at all-I’d pass. If you ever find yourself in a situation where there is no food safety inspection authority-chances are medical services are also lacking and you may be on your own if you contract something. Simply put, mammals carry diseases that we can easily contract from them. In order to be a smart sane prepper, I’d avoid contact with something that potentially harbors disease as much as possible, because mitigating the effects of illness post-exposure is not a situation I want to put myself in. I spent a semester in the Yunnan Province of China studying the Chinese public health system and the first phrase I learned in Mandarin was “I’m a vegetarian.” I wasn’t in the US but I definitely was intentionally a non-meat eater in China as I didn’t feel comfortable eating meat in a country that wasn’t as heavily regulated in the food safety category as the US system. Out of the 25 or so students-I was the only one to never contract any travel-related food illness during the course of our stay(however this is merely my own speculation that not eating meat was correlated with not getting sick) but if you are in a place where cold chains don’t exist (like I was) it’s not hard to contract a food-borne illness. It is fair to say that nothing is completely unbiased – even science. Science is done by people and people have biases and these can certainly still be present despite rigorous review processes before publication of data. Saying everyone has an agenda is not all that insightful because everyone does have an agenda, and we know this because as individuals we also have agendas. The CDC may have spectacularly messed up it’s first response to COVID-19 but a big part of their ‘agenda’ at the end of the day is to provide information to the public (just like the WHO and NIH). Certainly I believe in questioning sources-but if it’s gone through a review process to be published, multiple scientists have vetted it (and as someone who has submitted research to a scientific journal the process to publication is lengthy). The lobbyists certainly aren’t writing guidelines on what vaccines you should get to travel, scientists are. The CDC like every other organization would like money, hence the lobbyists. Everyone who has ever mentored me at the CDC has definitely been a scientist or physician.

So glad to see a thread about this as emerging infectious diseases is my favorite topic! However I wanted to correct some of the mis-information that popped up in this thread. All my sources are cited and peer-reviewed (so you know they are real facts and not just my opinion)! My background: I have an undergraduate degree in Biology and Society with a concentration in Infectious Disease Biology and I worked as a researcher in a microbiology lab focusing on Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of cholera. I’m a fellow of the Cornell Institute for Host-Microbe Interactions and Disease. I am currently a COVID-19 contact tracer and part of the COVID-19 vaccine effort in my hometown. I will be beginning my  PhD in the emerging infectious disease field in August. Some interesting points I’d like to make: 1. The ‘potentially a new prion disease’ memo was likely not released to the public because prions aren’t often classed as high concern as humans don’t typically contract prions from other infected humans. Here’s why you really shouldn’t worry overmuch about prions: Prions, the pathogenic agents which cause abnormal folding of proteins which leads to death, are very rare and can easily be avoided. They are spread via eating contaminated products like meat from a host that had the prion, or in very very rare cases by neurosurgical equipment used on a patient with a prion disease that hasn’t been decontaminated (I found only a few cases of this: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5082740/ ). Unless you live in a society that practices ritualistic funerary cannibalism (as was the case with the spread of the Kuru prion: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6466359/ ) you will most likely never contract a prion from another human. Avoid eating any that animals that are clearly sick (or already dead). Most everything that acquires a prion wastes away, dies quickly or exhibits some neurological behavior which should tip you off to avoid it. See the CDC for more info here: https://www.cdc.gov/prions/index.html 2. Want to learn about emerging infectious disease concerns in real-time? Sign up for the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/mmwrsubscribe.html Peer reviewed sources like the CDC, WHO and scientific journals are always better sources to find information on emerging infectious diseases, as they cut through the politics and fear-mongering present in many other sources. 3. I grew up on a diversified livestock farm where we raised cattle, hogs, chickens and turkeys. I’m not advocating a certain kind of diet HOWEVER, if you want to keep something in mind for a survival scenario, here’s a tip: animal products when not properly regulated by a food safety task force are potentially a major source of pathogens even if cooked to safe temperatures. Not saying you can’t have plants with bacterial contamination, but here are some pathogens we introduced to humanity via processing and consuming animal products: trichinosis (pork), SARS-CoV (originated in a live animal market), Ebola (bush meat), HIV (was originally SIV in non-human primates and the first case of HIV, the spillover event, was likely a hunter who had an open wound while rendering meat from an infected primate), variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease (usually contracted from beef impacted by Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy). The Causal Relationship Between Eating Animals and Epidemics: https://www.karger.com/Article/Fulltext/511192 4. The above list merely covers pathogens you can pick up from butchering and eating animals, but poor biosecurity and lack of hygiene during a survival situation could also potentially expose one to many other zoonotic diseases such as: Rabies, novel influenza strains, flea-borne diseases like Yersinia pestis (likely the causative agent of the Black Death-we actually have endemic ‘plague’ in the U.S. but there are usually fewer than 20 cases per year: https://www.cdc.gov/plague/maps/index.html ) or typhus (potentially the causative agent of the Plague of Athens: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7118959/#:~:text=Epidemic%20typhus%20has%20been%20mentioned,conjunctival%20suffusion%2C%20and%20truncal%20rash.&text=The%20rash%20of%20typhus%20is,extremities%20as%20described%20by%20Thucydides. ). There has even been a reported case of a hunter acquiring tuberculosis from field dressing a white tailed deer in Michigan: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6837a3.htm 5. I read somewhere in a comment in this thread, that someone was concerned about viruses persisting outside of a host and remaining infectious. This is not typical as viruses are obligate intracellular parasites-which means they can’t replicate outside of living host cells, and if we are anthropomorphizing viruses, replicating is their ‘goal’: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7149757/#:~:text=Viruses%20are%20small%20and%20relatively,intracellular%20parasites%20(Figure%201). Rarely, some viruses can survive on organic surfaces for a limited amount of time. A good example of this time-limited survival is the Hepatitis B virus which can live in dried blood for up to one week (which is a really long time, as most viruses deteriorate within minutes or hours when outside the body): https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/correctionalhcw/cross.html#:~:text=Hepatitis%20B%20virus%20can%20live,for%20up%20to%20four%20days.&text=Work%20surfaces%20that%20become%20contaminated,bloodborne%20disease%20through%20cross%2Dcontamination. 6. An easy trap to fall into in the context of speaking about emerging infectious diseases is the ‘us versus them’ rhetoric. We like to have someone/some group to blame for a disease and it’s spread, however the truth is disease often comes from within our own communities and borders and many epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists will tell you that we are only as safe or as healthy as the least safe or healthy place/group/people. 7. I see there is concern over Nipah (interesting enough no one mentioned Hendra virus), and it is something scary due to its high mortality rate, however the main human-to-human transmission of Nipah has been reported amongst close contacts: family and care-givers of those who were infected via a spillover of the virus from animals to humans: https://www.who.int/health-topics/nipah-virus-infection#tab=tab_1 Lethality makes sensational headlines, however high transmissibility is what you should really watch for. Highly lethal diseases often kill their hosts before the host can transmit them to many people (except in the case of respiratory illnesses like pneumonic ‘plague’ another form Yersinia pestis infections can take). Most people have probably never heard of Marburg, a viral hemorrhagic fever which is highly lethal: https://www.who.int/health-topics/marburg-virus-disease/#tab=tab_1 , yet have definitely heard of outbreak of say, measles, which is highly transmissible. 8. Diseases typically evolve to live with us, as the longer we survive the more they can replicate using our resources, however this takes time, as in in time on an evolutionary scale. For example, about 90% of people are infected at some time in their lives with the Epstein Barr Virus (‘mono’ or ‘Kissing Disease’) and usually have no ill effects unless they have underlying health conditions: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101215121905.htm#:~:text=Summary%3A,occurring%20because%20of%20this%20virus. This is because this virus like many y-herpesviruses has evolved to live with us humans over a large span of evolutionary time: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK47368/ When it first emerged perhaps it was more detrimental to the human population but now, a large majority of people get it and forget it or never know they were exposed at all. This means novel viruses often kill us because they essentially haven’t habituated to using us as hosts. 9. Vaccines are not a magic-bullet. You can still get infected after being vaccinated, usually vaccines just lessen the severity and duration of the potential infection. 10. In regards to body bags: most bodies aren’t as infectious as movies and media make them out to be, and many infectious diseases don’t even make dead bodies infectious long-term because the host environment supporting the pathogen has ceased to function. Someone spoke about a 10 mile bury radius in this thread which is simply not based on fact. The World Health Organization confirms this here: https://www.who.int/hac/techguidance/management-of-dead-bodies-qanda/en/ Essentially they suggest being mindful when handling a body and using PPE if there is a potential for infection and the body is being handled in an infectious window, and being sure not to contaminate water sources upon burial (honestly in most scenarios the living are probably far more likely to contaminate a water source). I have seen an interview with a mortician, Caitlin Doughty, confirming that the majority of dead bodies really don’t pose that much of a risk to the living. While decomposition isn’t pretty, most of the microbes doing that work don’t have a huge effect on the living population. Doughty writes “The bacteria involved in decomposition are not the same bacteria that cause disease.” One of my best friend’s from undergrad worked with necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating bacteria, a real Hollywood favorite), and the isolates were ‘escapees’ from the microbiome of living individuals that their immune system didn’t catch, not swabs from the necrobiome of the dead.  https://health.ucsd.edu/news/2006/pages/02_21_nizet.aspx 11. Major causes of emerging infectious diseases: global warming (malaria may be coming to a newly warmed region near you: https://scied.ucar.edu/learning-zone/climate-change-impacts/vector-borne-disease ), deforestation (a great way to stumble upon novel pathogens and their hosts which otherwise would never interact with humans: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/stopping-deforestation-can-prevent-pandemics1/#:~:text=All%20these%20factors%20will%20lead,cholera%20and%20HIV%20among%20them ), global interconnectivity leading to fast transport of pathogens and hosts around the world, and a lack of unified regulation around surveillance of animal populations which can act as sentinels for disease (and since almost every country including the USA has live animal markets we will likely see diseases emerging from them at some point). 12. While working in a cholera lab one of my mentors introduced me to this really interesting article: https://www.nature.com/news/2003/030113/full/news030113-2.html Turns out if you are in an area where cholera is endemic, filtering water through cotton cloth (such as sari cloth) decreases the incidence of cholera, not because the cotton cloth can filter out microscopic Vibrio cholerae, but because V. cholerae colonizes copepods (chitinous water crustaceans) which are filtered by the cloth, thus reducing the incidence of cholera. I’d still much rather trust any of the water filters reviewed by The Prepared, but it’s an interesting piece of knowledge for sure. 13. As someone in the Emerging Infectious Disease (EID) field here is what I worry about: the NEXT novel respiratory virus, COVID-19 not teaching us anything preparedness-wise as we rush to move past the misery of it and get back to ‘normal’, and antibiotic resistance. 14. I don’t think prepping for emerging infectious disease looks all that different then prepping for other disaster scenarios except that EID is just another feed of information to monitor and keep a pulse on. Personal Protective Equipment is important when used properly, but in reality, behavior is what keeps people the safest.


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Food is a deeply social and personal choice, but I am glad we have safety regulations in place. I’m only commenting on this article because it’s not right to mention something like raw milk in an even semi-supportive context (such as that you might be able to buy it even though it’s forbidden), because that runs contrary to the prevailing evidence about it’s dangers. The Prepared has always seemed very fact based to me and it is a fact that raw milk is far more dangerous than pasteurized.  No inspection process is ever going to be perfect, but evidence shows having some regulation is better than not having any at all which is currently the case with unregulated nonpasteurized dairy products:  “We found 121 outbreaks for which the product’s pasteurization status was known; among these, 73 (60%) involved nonpasteurized products and resulted in 1,571 cases, 202 hospitalizations, and 2 deaths. A total of 55 (75%) outbreaks occurred in 21 states that permitted sale of nonpasteurized products; incidence of nonpasteurized product–associated outbreaks was higher in these states. Nonpasteurized products caused a disproportionate number (≈150× greater/unit of product consumed) of outbreaks and outbreak-associated illnesses and also disproportionately affected persons <20 years of age. “ Just as you point out that pasteurization isn’t mythical-neither is raw milk. Raw milk is not some magical elixir and there is no evidence it is better for you than pasteurized products, yet there is evidence it’s a lot risker to consume than pasteurized products. Contamination in some of the outbreaks you mentioned may actually have come from the processing facilities, not the milk (see point #5 in the Blue Bell article  linked), and in the same article you linked about the Blue Bell Listeria outbreak, the following is written: “foods that have historically harbored Listeria include unpasteurized or raw milk and unpasteurized soft cheeses” Farm conditions and animal welfare vary, but that’s a personal anecdote you mention about cleanliness and thus it can’t be applied broadly to all farms. To keep this in context I’d like to point out the following from NY Health: “In New York State, raw milk may only be sold at dairy farms that hold a permit from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Permitted farms are required to maintain proper sanitation, animal health, packaging procedures, routine inspections, sampling and testing. Permitted farms must also post signs that warn that raw milk does not provide the protection of pasteurization.” Why are they still required to post a warning sign despite taking all these precautions and complying with testing regulations?  Because no matter how careful and clean the farmer is, we know that raw milk is just not as safe as pasteurized milk because the data tells us so. 

Since The Prepared is all about getting the facts out there I just wanted to bring attention to the fact that raw milk is incredibly unsafe for anyone to drink which is why raw milk is banned in so many places. We pasteurize dairy products for a reason and while there are some myths about raw milk the FDA and the CDC is working really hard to dispel them. From the FDA: “Pasteurizing milk does NOT cause lactose intolerance and allergic reactions. Pasteurization does NOT reduce milk’s nutritional value. Pasteurization DOES kill harmful bacteria. Pasteurization DOES save lives.” Myth dispelled by the CDC: “If you’re thinking about consuming raw milk because you believe it is a good source of beneficial bacteria, you need to know that you may instead get sick from the harmful bacteria.” According to the CDC: “Raw milk can carry dangerous germs, such as Brucella, Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella.” All of these infections can potentially land you in a hospital. There is no good reason to drink raw milk when we so easily have access to pasteurized products and unfortunately anyone stating otherwise is misinformed. No matter how careful a farmer is or how much you trust them, you run a big risk by drinking raw milk and it can put your health in jeopardy and no one wants to land in a hospital staggering under the weight of the pandemic for an infection caused by unsafe dairy products. Check out the CDC’s page for raw milk outbreaks here. As the health risks of raw milk come to light it has driven some of the market for it in the U.S. underground, which makes it even more dangerous as there is zero regulation.  I say all of this as a former farm kid who stupidly drank raw milk – be a smart, sane prepper, and stick with the pasteurized stuff. There is an interesting fallacy where people assume they are safe doing something risky (like drinking raw milk) because they haven’t had anything to contaminate (quite literally) their experience thus far so assume their continued safety is assured (“I’ve done it for years, no issues!” etc etc ). To be blunt-the risk is the same each time, and doing something risky with no evidence of benefit (besides others personal anecdotes about how great it is which are usually inaccurate and not fact based) is never a grand idea. Want to buy local? Look for a local creamery that pasteurizes their products and has to be inspected for food safety. 

A great question. Unfortunately as I started to look into this topic I’ve yet to find actions the average individual can take to reliably protect themselves from fungal pathogens (although deciding to take personal action to do what we can to not contribute to increase global temperatures would be great) and I think that’s what makes this issue such a concern as that’s a huge vulnerability to a rising class of pathogens. The reason I wanted to post this was simply to bring awareness to a situation we have reached a tipping point in that the average person likely isn’t aware of. Some items of note I’ve found that are relevant to preparedness: Some fungal infections are only prevalent in certain regions so it’s worth noting that risk when considering traveling to those places.  Even just talking about this issue is important. Would the way we met COVID-19 (as a community, a nation, a world) have been better and less fraught and less catastrophic if a greater proportion of the public had been aware that we weren’t prepared to handle a respiratory pandemic and had pushed for preparedness or prepared themselves? (I recognize that this article I’ve linked is from The Atlantic and definitely has some political leanings, but I’m linking it because it includes the 12+ major irrefutable ways we were warned by experts that we weren’t ready for a respiratory pandemic and it would be more of a hassle to link them all separately in this post) There are only three available classes of antifungals and some Candida auris strains (usually linked to outbreaks in a healthcare setting) are resistant to all three. Here is a map of Candida auris cases in the USA for the past year or so. Notice many of the cases actually occur in places that are neither hot nor humid (like New York).

I finished my undergraduate degree at Cornell University in December 2020 and just moved to start my PhD program. In no particular order prepping in college for me looked like: 1. Having my own vehicle so I never had to rely on anyone else for a way to get supplies like groceries or for a way to get home for a significant emergency event. It can be expensive to have a vehicle as an undergraduate with regular maintenance and gas but it was so worth it to me for peace of mind, and when everyone at my university was given two weeks to get off campus in March 2020 due to the pandemic it took me less than 48 hours to take a calculus exam I had already scheduled, pack everything I owned, tie up loose ends with my biomedical research in my lab and head home to my parents farm where I stayed to do the rest of the semester online. A true bug out situation, as there was no option to stay on campus, nor was it safe to do so. If you can’t for any reason have a car, then become REALLY good friends with a few people who do have them. Also, I always parked my vehicle facing out of a parking space (good for leaving quickly and dealing with inclement weather) and I always had a full tank of gas in it when I parked. It’s also nice to park under lighting if you aren’t familiar with the area. 2. Have a go-bag. I started with a go-bag (instead of the prepared home that most preppers start with before moving to a go-bag) because as an undergraduate I was constantly moving: in and out of dorms, campus to home and back again for college breaks, study abroad etc. In these situations having a go bag with basic essentials served me better than trying to keep lots of items in a dorm room where space is a premium and I would have had to haul them back and forth and up and down the stairs. 3. I always kept a stock of water in my dorm room just in case and I often had at least some of the foods mentioned by others in the comments just in case. That being said I never had an issue with the dining halls or my meal plan at my undergraduate institution.  4. See if you can find preparedness minded peers on campus because that can be a great resource to continue your growth. Lots of campuses have a truly enormous number of clubs, and there is always an opportunity cost to joining one and not another so just go with what works best for you and learn to be ok with not being able to do it all. There might not be a ‘prepper specific group’ (although if you’re so inclined you could probably form one) but don’t discount checking out EMT groups, wilderness groups etc. 5. When I was starting as a freshman someone told me about ‘The Rule of Five’. Basically, they held up their hand and said “as you are entering a different stage in life and making huge adjustments to being more independent you can probably only realistically do five things really well and sustainably.” Basically the things you are really committed to and that add value to your life should be countable on your hand to avoid burnout. They then ticked off on their fingers: “Sleeping, eating and studying. These are three priorities you have to have to be sustainable at this stage, that means you can pick two more things to focus your energy into.” For you ‘The Rule of Five’ may reflect your prepping priorities and could look like: “Sleeping, eating, studying, prepping and [insert other activity/focus here].” I found this to be really useful advice to follow and as you adjust to independence and college life you can add more things in because you better understand what you can sustainably do at one time. 6. I always had an emergency $50 in my wallet and also kept some of my savings liquid. I worked 1-2 part time jobs (I was a paid biomedical researcher and I was also paid to tutor some other students) while in school. Working may not be necessary for you depending on your financial situation, but I was in the position where I needed to pay for my own education and I wanted to be able to cover my own needs like groceries etc. I started working as a freshman because it was important for me to build up my savings and I wanted to eventually start investing. I was able to do both successfully and I’m happy with where I am financially today. Personal finance is a huge part of preparedness. I recommend the book ‘Your Money or Your Life’ which is not only great financial advice, but may also be insightful to you as you decide what you want to do to make money/as a career. 7. As far as raising dorm beds for prepping space, make sure it’s “legal” in your dorm to avoid having issues (like fines or a fire safety citation) and if it is, make sure that you also do it safely. Many places don’t actually allow it anymore because it’s considered a safety hazard.  8. The most useful prep I had besides a vehicle, a small stock of water and shelf stable food and a go-bag in college was keeping a supply of over the counter medications/supplies in my dorm. College health clinics are not always places you want to hike across campus to get to if you don’t feel well and having things like basic painkillers for headaches, an ice pack, any prescriptions you may need, bandages, etc. can make your life so much easier. It’s also worth it to get established with a primary care provider at your college clinic (especially if you are far from home) while you feel well so they have a baseline and you are more comfortable with who you will see when you aren’t feeling well. Self-advocacy is important in this context. If you need a certain type of care and aren’t getting it – speak up. 9. Education is really important for prepping. The Prepared has a book list you may want to check out. I have read many of the books on it, and they were valuable enough for me to keep them as a reference and carry them with me for my various moves into different dorms and apartments throughout college. I hope this is useful to you as you transition into college. Good luck!

Glad you found my write-up useful! I think antibiotic resistance has so many stakeholders and you bring up a great point about starting the conversation with clinicians about their recommendations surrounding antibiotics. This isn’t to say clinicians are to blame for the problem (nor does the blame rest solely with agriculturists who use antibiotics – another common target). We all share some responsibility. I think the antibiotic resistance issue was almost inevitable in a way-we really haven’t had access to antibiotics for that long of a stretch of time-and we were bound to find the limitations of the effectiveness of the current products at some point. Antibiotics are a tool, and we used them as a tool without good stewardship for a long time, and in some cases we continue to apply them to tasks they are not suited to be used for which is ruining the effectiveness of a tool that we previously took for granted. The guidelines around acne treatment have changed due to antibiotic resistance! Individuals don’t typically develop immunity to antibiotics from taking them (even if the antibiotics are used  frequently). Instead, it is the bacteria responsible for the infections that become resistant through antibiotic exposure and if these bacteria then spread to another person, they could potentially cause an antibiotic resistant infection in the new individual/host.

I’m glad you find this helpful, I certainly learn a lot and really enjoying diving into infectious disease research and laying out the facts. I wanted to respond to your point about viral recombination (specifically about recombination of a viral hemorrhagic fever and influenza), but needed to do some follow-up research in order to make a clear point. Here goes:   In order to recombine viruses need some very specific conditions: the viruses must be co-habitating in a host cell & interact during replication.  There are many different families of viruses and not all can recombine due to hybrid incompatibility(this article mentions plant viruses since you have expressed an interest). Generally speaking recombination occurs between viruses of the same type (for example, an influenza virus recombining with another influenza virus).  If you follow Occam’s Razor, which basically suggests that the simplest/most straightforward explanation that requires no great leaps is the most likely/the most plausible then we have more to worry about from a novel spillover event of a virus that’s not habituated to using us as a host and thus is deadly to us, then to worry about from a potentially deadly recombination of pre-existing viruses which takes very specific conditions within a host (co-infection) and viral compatibility to occur. I think recombining flu viruses are concerning (the 1918 influenza is a terrifying example), but I have rarely heard major concerns expressed over viruses recombining across families. The ‘pay-off’ of viral recombination for the virus could be “expansion of host ranges…the alteration of transmission vector specificities, increases in virulence and pathogenesis…evasion of host immunity, and the evolution of resistance to antivirals.” which ties in to the concerning ‘extinction event’ scenario you mentioned.  With all this info in mind: Marburg (and Ebola) are viral hemorrhagic fevers in the Filioviridae family  and influenza is of the Orthomyxoviridae family. Both of these pathogens also have very different ‘transmission/vector specificities’ as one is primarily spread through close contact with infectious fluids like blood etc. and the other is a respiratory virus.  Viral recombination is an interesting thought question (as is the plant to animal ‘kingdom jump’ question) and part of the fascinating ever-changing landscape of the field of emerging infectious diseases where new issues crop up all the time. However, a recombination of this type it is likely not a major worry for preppers (as there is no special prep for a major viral extinction scenario) and we must focus on what we can truly prepare for. A concern I have in this vein that should be on preppers radars is how bacteria incorporate new genetic material which confers antibiotic resistance to bacterial species. This is very concerning and impacts an estimated two million people annually in the United States alone. The World Health Organization has expressed concerns that the world is running out of effective antibiotics, and this could present serious challenges to the standards of health we currently have in many countries. That’s a serious preparedness challenge.  I stumbled upon an edition of The Economist’s July 2019 “The World If” series. Basically, it’s a fictional take on what happens if [insert event here]. This one focused on what would happen if we no longer had access to antibiotics, due to the rise of antibiotic resistance. I stress that this account is FICTION, but it is chilling to read the authors take on what the world may look like with no or severely reduced access to effective antibiotics. It definitely got me thinking about how to prep for a future without antibiotics.    I’m going to start a thread on prepping for a future without antibiotics.

I appreciate that you got this thread going-I’ve been spinning on it mentally but since there is so much information out I wasn’t sure how to kickstart an EID thread and keep it relevant to as many people as possible.  Viruses aren’t alive, and I think an interesting note to make is that you can find viruses pretty much anywhere-but finding them in an environment doesn’t mean they are 1) still viable and 2) can infect you via route of transmission from whatever non-host environment they are occupying. I have no doubt avian influenza can survive in water and that it exists in high quantity in areas like lakes or ponds frequented by waterfowl that carry it and excrete it into the water. But can it actually infect humans via that pathway? Unlikely. Here’s why: Influenza is a respiratory illness. In order to be infected, you need to be exposed to respiratory droplets carrying the virus and inhale them/get them into mucus membranes/your mouth or nose. That’s why we see close contact between birds (often in agriculture) and humans who are managing them resulting in the majority of avian flu infections. Currently the WHO says that while there are potentially other routes of transmission for avian flu “including ingestion, for example ingestion of contaminated water, there is, as yet, no evidence of this reported.”That’s not to say it couldn’t happen, but we typically associate other diseases like cholera with contaminated water, because that’s the pathway of infection cholera has evolved to occupy. Influenza evolved to be a respiratory illness.  As to COVID-19 it definitely isn’t replicating outside the body as viruses are obligate intracellular parasites-part of the reason viruses have been argued to fail the ‘are they alive’ test is because they can’t replicate outside a host. I like the way this blurb explains viruses surviving outside the body although the survival conditions they describe do vary between viruses. Some viruses essentially have more ‘protection’ and can survive longer outside the body, but depending on the infectious dose needed to cause illness, perhaps only a few have to survive to cause illness. Eventually viruses will degrade in the environment.  I particularly like this figure explaining virus inactivation outside a host: I saw the plant virus article you linked-the authors note that it is still to be determined wether or not the plant virus they describe has completed the ‘kingdom jump’ from plants to humans. They did not fulfill Koch’s postulates to verify their findings so nothing can be said for certain. Koch’s Postulates:

The only CRISPR mosquito research I’m familiar with is this publication which is concerned with making mosquitoes resistant to transmitting malaria. This research isn’t related to anything else that has been discussed in this thread thus far, but could be of interest to prepper’s who may find themselves in an area that is newly endemic with malaria by 2050. I don’t worry about equine diseases except Eastern Equine Encephalitis which is vectored by mosquitoes (just wear bug spray to be safe, there are less than 10 cases per year in U.S.A. and horses are now vaccinated) and Hendra (bat to horse to human transmission, extremely rare). I have never seen any scientific literature suggesting mosquitoes are drawn to biting dead bodies, and unless you have a sound scientific source confirming it, this is likely a myth to be discarded . It also bears repeating: dead bodies are not great hosts for infectious diseases because the host environment supporting the pathogen has ceased to function. Majority of people will never come in contact with a body that is infectious in nature. Even in a hypothetical scenario of a highly contagious novel disease, you’re unlikely to have someone infected staggering onto your property with the responsibility of caring for their body then falling to you. That’s Hollywood, not reality. If people are that sick, they aren’t going to be traveling some far distance, wandering in a direction they don’t know.  To your suggestion that there is restricted access to info – realistically speaking if mosquito transmission of the nature you are suggesting was actually real – we would see a much higher prevalence of many vectored diseases than we currently see simply because these vectors would transmitting diseases from those living who are infected to those living who are uninfected. If they aren’t transmitting a disease from one live body to another, they certainly won’t be transmitting it from one dead body to one live body. Arthropods (like ticks and mosquitoes) are vectors of many diseases, however many diseases aren’t at all adapted to being vectored by an arthropod.  You need to seriously re-evaluate where you are getting your information, as there is NO evidence what-so-ever that mosquitoes can transmit HIV (which causes AIDS).

To clarify my point on “avoiding eating sick or already dead animals”. This applies to a situation where there is no food safety inspection entity or there is one but it’s not trustworthy by your standards (or accessible). In a survival scenario I would only eat meat as a very last resort unless I had previously stored it as a prep and I knew it was inspected/safe. This is despite my background on a livestock farm and knowing the basics to butcher animals like chickens/pigs/cows and field dress deer etc. As a child, I ate venison, now as an adult who is in the emerging infectious disease field? No chance. You just don’t know an animals health status unless it is your own livestock (and even then-do you really? I’d trust something from my parent’s farm but definitely not anywhere else) or if it has been inspected by a food safety entity you trust. If you don’t know how an animal died-obviously you should not be eating it because most living things don’t die of old age-they die of some type of condition that caused a breakdown in function. Maybe it was infectious, maybe not. Why chance it?  If it displays signs of neurologic disease before death-also assume you should not ingest it. If it displays any signs of illness at all-I’d pass. If you ever find yourself in a situation where there is no food safety inspection authority-chances are medical services are also lacking and you may be on your own if you contract something. Simply put, mammals carry diseases that we can easily contract from them. In order to be a smart sane prepper, I’d avoid contact with something that potentially harbors disease as much as possible, because mitigating the effects of illness post-exposure is not a situation I want to put myself in. I spent a semester in the Yunnan Province of China studying the Chinese public health system and the first phrase I learned in Mandarin was “I’m a vegetarian.” I wasn’t in the US but I definitely was intentionally a non-meat eater in China as I didn’t feel comfortable eating meat in a country that wasn’t as heavily regulated in the food safety category as the US system. Out of the 25 or so students-I was the only one to never contract any travel-related food illness during the course of our stay(however this is merely my own speculation that not eating meat was correlated with not getting sick) but if you are in a place where cold chains don’t exist (like I was) it’s not hard to contract a food-borne illness. It is fair to say that nothing is completely unbiased – even science. Science is done by people and people have biases and these can certainly still be present despite rigorous review processes before publication of data. Saying everyone has an agenda is not all that insightful because everyone does have an agenda, and we know this because as individuals we also have agendas. The CDC may have spectacularly messed up it’s first response to COVID-19 but a big part of their ‘agenda’ at the end of the day is to provide information to the public (just like the WHO and NIH). Certainly I believe in questioning sources-but if it’s gone through a review process to be published, multiple scientists have vetted it (and as someone who has submitted research to a scientific journal the process to publication is lengthy). The lobbyists certainly aren’t writing guidelines on what vaccines you should get to travel, scientists are. The CDC like every other organization would like money, hence the lobbyists. Everyone who has ever mentored me at the CDC has definitely been a scientist or physician.

So glad to see a thread about this as emerging infectious diseases is my favorite topic! However I wanted to correct some of the mis-information that popped up in this thread. All my sources are cited and peer-reviewed (so you know they are real facts and not just my opinion)! My background: I have an undergraduate degree in Biology and Society with a concentration in Infectious Disease Biology and I worked as a researcher in a microbiology lab focusing on Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of cholera. I’m a fellow of the Cornell Institute for Host-Microbe Interactions and Disease. I am currently a COVID-19 contact tracer and part of the COVID-19 vaccine effort in my hometown. I will be beginning my  PhD in the emerging infectious disease field in August. Some interesting points I’d like to make: 1. The ‘potentially a new prion disease’ memo was likely not released to the public because prions aren’t often classed as high concern as humans don’t typically contract prions from other infected humans. Here’s why you really shouldn’t worry overmuch about prions: Prions, the pathogenic agents which cause abnormal folding of proteins which leads to death, are very rare and can easily be avoided. They are spread via eating contaminated products like meat from a host that had the prion, or in very very rare cases by neurosurgical equipment used on a patient with a prion disease that hasn’t been decontaminated (I found only a few cases of this: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5082740/ ). Unless you live in a society that practices ritualistic funerary cannibalism (as was the case with the spread of the Kuru prion: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6466359/ ) you will most likely never contract a prion from another human. Avoid eating any that animals that are clearly sick (or already dead). Most everything that acquires a prion wastes away, dies quickly or exhibits some neurological behavior which should tip you off to avoid it. See the CDC for more info here: https://www.cdc.gov/prions/index.html 2. Want to learn about emerging infectious disease concerns in real-time? Sign up for the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/mmwrsubscribe.html Peer reviewed sources like the CDC, WHO and scientific journals are always better sources to find information on emerging infectious diseases, as they cut through the politics and fear-mongering present in many other sources. 3. I grew up on a diversified livestock farm where we raised cattle, hogs, chickens and turkeys. I’m not advocating a certain kind of diet HOWEVER, if you want to keep something in mind for a survival scenario, here’s a tip: animal products when not properly regulated by a food safety task force are potentially a major source of pathogens even if cooked to safe temperatures. Not saying you can’t have plants with bacterial contamination, but here are some pathogens we introduced to humanity via processing and consuming animal products: trichinosis (pork), SARS-CoV (originated in a live animal market), Ebola (bush meat), HIV (was originally SIV in non-human primates and the first case of HIV, the spillover event, was likely a hunter who had an open wound while rendering meat from an infected primate), variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease (usually contracted from beef impacted by Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy). The Causal Relationship Between Eating Animals and Epidemics: https://www.karger.com/Article/Fulltext/511192 4. The above list merely covers pathogens you can pick up from butchering and eating animals, but poor biosecurity and lack of hygiene during a survival situation could also potentially expose one to many other zoonotic diseases such as: Rabies, novel influenza strains, flea-borne diseases like Yersinia pestis (likely the causative agent of the Black Death-we actually have endemic ‘plague’ in the U.S. but there are usually fewer than 20 cases per year: https://www.cdc.gov/plague/maps/index.html ) or typhus (potentially the causative agent of the Plague of Athens: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7118959/#:~:text=Epidemic%20typhus%20has%20been%20mentioned,conjunctival%20suffusion%2C%20and%20truncal%20rash.&text=The%20rash%20of%20typhus%20is,extremities%20as%20described%20by%20Thucydides. ). There has even been a reported case of a hunter acquiring tuberculosis from field dressing a white tailed deer in Michigan: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6837a3.htm 5. I read somewhere in a comment in this thread, that someone was concerned about viruses persisting outside of a host and remaining infectious. This is not typical as viruses are obligate intracellular parasites-which means they can’t replicate outside of living host cells, and if we are anthropomorphizing viruses, replicating is their ‘goal’: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7149757/#:~:text=Viruses%20are%20small%20and%20relatively,intracellular%20parasites%20(Figure%201). Rarely, some viruses can survive on organic surfaces for a limited amount of time. A good example of this time-limited survival is the Hepatitis B virus which can live in dried blood for up to one week (which is a really long time, as most viruses deteriorate within minutes or hours when outside the body): https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/correctionalhcw/cross.html#:~:text=Hepatitis%20B%20virus%20can%20live,for%20up%20to%20four%20days.&text=Work%20surfaces%20that%20become%20contaminated,bloodborne%20disease%20through%20cross%2Dcontamination. 6. An easy trap to fall into in the context of speaking about emerging infectious diseases is the ‘us versus them’ rhetoric. We like to have someone/some group to blame for a disease and it’s spread, however the truth is disease often comes from within our own communities and borders and many epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists will tell you that we are only as safe or as healthy as the least safe or healthy place/group/people. 7. I see there is concern over Nipah (interesting enough no one mentioned Hendra virus), and it is something scary due to its high mortality rate, however the main human-to-human transmission of Nipah has been reported amongst close contacts: family and care-givers of those who were infected via a spillover of the virus from animals to humans: https://www.who.int/health-topics/nipah-virus-infection#tab=tab_1 Lethality makes sensational headlines, however high transmissibility is what you should really watch for. Highly lethal diseases often kill their hosts before the host can transmit them to many people (except in the case of respiratory illnesses like pneumonic ‘plague’ another form Yersinia pestis infections can take). Most people have probably never heard of Marburg, a viral hemorrhagic fever which is highly lethal: https://www.who.int/health-topics/marburg-virus-disease/#tab=tab_1 , yet have definitely heard of outbreak of say, measles, which is highly transmissible. 8. Diseases typically evolve to live with us, as the longer we survive the more they can replicate using our resources, however this takes time, as in in time on an evolutionary scale. For example, about 90% of people are infected at some time in their lives with the Epstein Barr Virus (‘mono’ or ‘Kissing Disease’) and usually have no ill effects unless they have underlying health conditions: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101215121905.htm#:~:text=Summary%3A,occurring%20because%20of%20this%20virus. This is because this virus like many y-herpesviruses has evolved to live with us humans over a large span of evolutionary time: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK47368/ When it first emerged perhaps it was more detrimental to the human population but now, a large majority of people get it and forget it or never know they were exposed at all. This means novel viruses often kill us because they essentially haven’t habituated to using us as hosts. 9. Vaccines are not a magic-bullet. You can still get infected after being vaccinated, usually vaccines just lessen the severity and duration of the potential infection. 10. In regards to body bags: most bodies aren’t as infectious as movies and media make them out to be, and many infectious diseases don’t even make dead bodies infectious long-term because the host environment supporting the pathogen has ceased to function. Someone spoke about a 10 mile bury radius in this thread which is simply not based on fact. The World Health Organization confirms this here: https://www.who.int/hac/techguidance/management-of-dead-bodies-qanda/en/ Essentially they suggest being mindful when handling a body and using PPE if there is a potential for infection and the body is being handled in an infectious window, and being sure not to contaminate water sources upon burial (honestly in most scenarios the living are probably far more likely to contaminate a water source). I have seen an interview with a mortician, Caitlin Doughty, confirming that the majority of dead bodies really don’t pose that much of a risk to the living. While decomposition isn’t pretty, most of the microbes doing that work don’t have a huge effect on the living population. Doughty writes “The bacteria involved in decomposition are not the same bacteria that cause disease.” One of my best friend’s from undergrad worked with necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating bacteria, a real Hollywood favorite), and the isolates were ‘escapees’ from the microbiome of living individuals that their immune system didn’t catch, not swabs from the necrobiome of the dead.  https://health.ucsd.edu/news/2006/pages/02_21_nizet.aspx 11. Major causes of emerging infectious diseases: global warming (malaria may be coming to a newly warmed region near you: https://scied.ucar.edu/learning-zone/climate-change-impacts/vector-borne-disease ), deforestation (a great way to stumble upon novel pathogens and their hosts which otherwise would never interact with humans: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/stopping-deforestation-can-prevent-pandemics1/#:~:text=All%20these%20factors%20will%20lead,cholera%20and%20HIV%20among%20them ), global interconnectivity leading to fast transport of pathogens and hosts around the world, and a lack of unified regulation around surveillance of animal populations which can act as sentinels for disease (and since almost every country including the USA has live animal markets we will likely see diseases emerging from them at some point). 12. While working in a cholera lab one of my mentors introduced me to this really interesting article: https://www.nature.com/news/2003/030113/full/news030113-2.html Turns out if you are in an area where cholera is endemic, filtering water through cotton cloth (such as sari cloth) decreases the incidence of cholera, not because the cotton cloth can filter out microscopic Vibrio cholerae, but because V. cholerae colonizes copepods (chitinous water crustaceans) which are filtered by the cloth, thus reducing the incidence of cholera. I’d still much rather trust any of the water filters reviewed by The Prepared, but it’s an interesting piece of knowledge for sure. 13. As someone in the Emerging Infectious Disease (EID) field here is what I worry about: the NEXT novel respiratory virus, COVID-19 not teaching us anything preparedness-wise as we rush to move past the misery of it and get back to ‘normal’, and antibiotic resistance. 14. I don’t think prepping for emerging infectious disease looks all that different then prepping for other disaster scenarios except that EID is just another feed of information to monitor and keep a pulse on. Personal Protective Equipment is important when used properly, but in reality, behavior is what keeps people the safest.


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