5 plagues emerged from China in last 20 years, says US; how true is this claim?

US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien speaking to reporters in White House on Tuesday said that five plagues had emerged from China in 20 years

Continuing its attack on China in terms of the spread of coronavirus, the US has now said that five plagues have come out of East Asan country in the last 20 years. But is this true?

US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien said that as many as five plagues have come out of China in the last 20 years and at some point, it has to stop. "We can no longer have these plagues coming out of China, whether it is from labs or wet markets, neither one is a good answer," he told reporters at the White House.

Explaining his theory in details, O'Brien said, "We've had SARS, avian flu, swine flu, COVID-19 now and how long can the world put up with this terrible public health situation that you've got in the People's Republic of China that is being unleashed on the world," reported PTI.

In this statement, O'Brien named four plagues and did not mention the fifth one. In addition, he refrained from answering if the US is still looking for evidence on the origin of the coronavirus that has resulted in COVID-19. He only said that he cannot give a timeframe on this as it is a matter of serious concern. He said that China must figure out a way to deal with its public health-related problems because the US and the world cannot risk another virus outbreak, he added.


SARS-CoV-2 Pixabay

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), SARS coronavirus also known as SARS-CoV is said to be an animal virus, perhaps bats, that spread to other animals mainly civet cats. The first case of SARS was identified in humans in Guangdong province, southern China in 2002.

H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu)

Swne Flu screengrab

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) based out of the United States, the H1N1 influenza virus is referred to as "swine flu" was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009. It was called Swine Flu as it was found in the lab test that its gene segments were similar to influenza viruses circulating among pigs. WHO had declared Swine Flu as a pandemic in June 2009.

Avian Flu

According to WHO, human infection of Avian Flu also known as HPAI A(H5N1) virus was first reported in 1997 at Hong Kong SAR, China. It has spread from Asia o Europe and Africa since 2003, mainly affecting the poultry population. Another variant of avian flu caused by A(H7N9) virus was also reported first in China in 2013.


The current virus plaguing the entire world, COVID-19, was also first reported at Wuhan in China. As studies are on to trace the origin of the virus, the US has claimed that it originated in China especially in the Wuhan Lab. So far no concrete proofs have been submitted in this regard.

So, among the claims made by O'Brien, the fifth flu seems to be missing from the list, and H1N1 also known as Swine flu is said to have reported the first case in China. However, First human infection of plagues namely SARS, Avian Flu, and COVID-19 were found in China.

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