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Pandemic Planning

  • By: David E. Alexander
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

A pandemic is a large international epidemic of an infectious disease. The status of an outbreak as a pandemic depends more on its geographical extent and the number of people infected than it does on the lethality of the pathogen. Ailments such as seasonal influenza do not qualify unless they take an unusually lethal form. Historically, there have been pandemics of—among other diseases—typhoid fever, bubonic plague, smallpox, tuberculosis and human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). However, influenza has been the subject of more widespread and intensive planning than most other sources of pandemics, with the possible exception of HIV/AIDS.

Influenza Pandemic Scenarios

The unseasonal strains of influenza reach pandemic proportions on average once every three to four decades, such as in 2009 with the ...

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