Health professionals say a combination of antimicrobial resistance, complacency, austerity, climate change, urbanisation and migrate are increasing the risk of infectious diseases and pandemics
Over 150 senior academics, policymakers, and healthcare professionals will come together at the Science Museum tonight (8th November) to discuss health preparations for the future.
Hosted by the International Longevity Centre (ILC), the debate will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Spanish flu, a highly infectious disease which killed between 50-100 million people.
The ILC will share lessons learnt from the Spanish flu and how we can recognise warning signs to respond faster to future events.
ILC will warn that alarmist or inaccurate reporting could also help spread fear or misinformation and undermine the prevention of future infectious diseases.
Part of a wider global programme, the event hopes to reach out to experts around the world to discuss best practice to minimise the longevity of future infectious diseases.
At the event, Steven Baxter, Head of Longevity Innovation & Research, Hymans Robertson LLP will say: “The Spanish Flu traversed the world owing to the mass movement of troops between continents.
“One hundred years on, that widespread, devastating infection rate is a warning of the potential for pandemic in our globally connected world.
“A modern day antibiotic resistant pandemic would have far reaching impact. Immediate effects of huge morbidity, loss of economic productivity, massive strain on health systems and potentially material loss of life are obvious.
“But there are also likely to be longer term effects. The Spanish Flu of 1918-1919 resulted in a generation resilient to the H1N1 flu strain, but heightened susceptibility to other flu strains. It also left a legacy of respiratory and cardiovascular weaknesses within younger sufferers.
“Just as viruses adapt – we must adapt to today’s challenges if we want to maintain our current levels of health and longevity.”
Natasha McEnroe, Keeper of Medicine at the Science Museum will discuss how museums raise awareness about health and wellbeing and how we can learn from the past.