The Next Pandemic

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Corona Virus

Both epidemic and pandemic are a serious medical issue which stems from the rapid spread of a new disease. They are typically preceded by two initial stages called sporadic and endemic. The former describes a situation where a disease occurs irregularly and infrequently. While the latter is a term given to circumstances where a disease is found regularly among a particular community or in a certain place. Usually, when the medical problem reaches the level of epidemic, things will start to look alarming. And when the pandemic – which is the highest level of disease – is on the doorstep, the situation will begin to induce widespread panic.

Epidemic

At times, an infectious disease can spread rapidly in a community and goes beyond the anticipated level. It becomes an epidemic once its number of cases rises above the normal level in that community. The term outbreak pretty much means the same thing as epidemic. Although its use is frequently limited to a small geographic area. An epidemic generally occurs when there’s an agent and enough numbers of susceptible hosts, and the agent can be easily transmitted from a source to the hosts. Below are more specific causes of an epidemic:

  • The agent becomes increasingly virulent.
  • The agent manages to reach a new area or community of people.
  • The agent transmits more effectively which causes more people to be at risk of being infected.
  • An increased level of susceptibility of the host to the agent.
  • Factors that lead to an increased host exposure or introduction through new portals of entry.

Pandemic

Pandemic is basically an epidemic of disease that has spread across multiple countries worldwide. Affecting a large number of people in the infected regions. A rife endemic disease that is steady in regard to the number of its sufferers is not considered a pandemic. Also, flu pandemics by and large exclude relapses of seasonal flu.

As far as history notes, numerous pandemics had occurred in the past. Including tuberculosis and smallpox. One of the deadliest pandemics remembered in history was the Black Death, which claimed the lives of around 75 to 200 million people in the 1300s. More recent pandemics include HIV/AIDS, Spanish flu, and H1N1. As for the most recent coronavirus, it’s not yet a pandemic although it might be close to becoming one.

So, a pandemic is a large scale epidemic which occurs globally and affects many communities in multiple regions. However, not all widespread and deadly diseases are considered a pandemic, especially the ones which are not contagious or infectious – they don’t fall into this category.

When Can We Expect the Next Pandemic?

As we all know, coronavirus has reached new territories outside of China. This raises one question in the minds of many people, “Is the next global pandemic about to happen?” There’s no doubt that coronavirus is not easy to stop. It will continue to spread, although we don’t know how far and for how long it will last.

What we know is that we’re dealing with consequences of being unprepared for the next major worldwide epidemic. It’s actually not too late to act now. We can probably prevent or dull future outbreaks and save the lives of millions. As for what has already been happening, it raises an even scarier question, which is not about how likely the next pandemic will occur, but about when it will occur.

There are outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics, where epidemics can become out of control in numerous countries and continents concurrently. The novel coronavirus that brings about the disease named covid-19 has considerable potential to reach that last, world-shaking level.

World Health Organization

As deadly coronavirus cases surge outside China, many health experts predict that the flulike disease may soon be too difficult to contain. Once again, to be clear, covid-19 still hasn’t become a pandemic. And the most infected country so far is China, with more than 2,400 deaths. However, the words coming from the World Health Organization suggest that in recent days, containment has become increasingly challenging. Which is certainly not a good news to hear.

But we can’t really predict when the next pandemic will happen. One thing for sure is that the now-spreading coronavirus is not to be taken lightly. If this virus will really become a pandemic, then we can expect the next global catastrophe to occur very soon, as the virus could infect a large portion of the world’s population, causing a death rate that is far greater than what we hear on the news today. In the end, we can only hope that such a health disaster will not happen.

Image: Alissa Eckert & Dan Higgins

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1 COMMENT

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