Pandemics are essentially large-scale infectious disease outbreaks. Some examples of pandemics are the Spanish flu, SARS, and Ebola, to name just a few. The term pandemic comes from the Greek pan, meaning all, and demos, meaning people. The term describes an epidemic that has spread worldwide via global travel or trade routes.
As you may already know, pandemics stem from viruses, and there are two basic kinds: RNA and DNA. RNA tends to mutate at a faster rate than DNA and thus can spread more quickly. The Spanish flu is an example of an RNA virus that killed millions during one of history’s most infamous pandemics.
Outbreaks of bacterial infection can spread person-to-person through the air, water, or food. Bacterial pandemics cause large outbreaks and account for more than 99% of all reported epidemics. Examples include cholera and Plague. The largest recorded outbreak is believed in India during 1817–1823 when 12 million people died.
Fungal infections can have an enormous impact on health, with some even having a historical impact. The Plague famously wiped out at least 30% of Europe’s population and is known as one of history’s most devastating pandemics. Fungi can be spread through inhalation or contact, meaning they don’t need to travel via animals to infect people—and that makes it much easier for them to spread among large populations.
A parasitic infection is an infection that occurs when a parasite, typically a protozoan, unicellular eukaryote, or helminth (worm), enters and lives within another organism. The parasite can cause disease by causing direct damage to host tissues or acting as a predator, feeding on organisms essential for normal host function. Diseases caused by parasites include malaria (caused by Plasmodium spp.) and sleeping sickness (caused by Trypanosoma brucei gambiense or T.
Biological agents such as viruses, bacteria, and toxins can be used to produce a chemical agent that causes disease in humans. Chemical agents are usually derived from biological sources but don’t need to be biological. In 2013, Syrian government forces attacked civilians with chemical weapons (sarin gas), killing approximately 1500 people. Many other examples of chemical weapon attacks exist throughout history, including one attack by Japanese terrorists on citizens during rush hour at Tokyo’s subway system in 1995, where 12 were killed, and thousands were sickened.
Radioactive fallout from nuclear bombs or a damaged nuclear power plant can cause radiation poisoning. The areas closest to these sources will see high infection and mortality rates, but any areas exposed to contaminated air, water, or food could have local cases. Think Chornobyl and Fukushima. Plague Pandemics: Animal-to-human contact often leads to plague outbreaks when fleas carrying Yersinia pestis infect rats and spread through human populations by fleabite exposure.
A single case of bubonic Plague—the most common form—can lead to pneumonic Plague in humans if not treated promptly with antibiotics. And without prompt treatment, bubonic and pneumonic plagues lead to death in 60%–100% of cases. Smallpox Pandemics: Variola virus spreads from person to person via respiratory droplets. If an infected person coughs or sneezes on you, you’re at risk of getting sick yourself.
An emerging viral disease has not been seen before in humans or animals or a disease that occurs only in a limited area. Not all diseases make it outside their current location. For example, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) originated in China and spread to Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Vietnam before being contained. The Ebola virus was first identified in 1976 near Zaire’s Ebola River but didn’t become an epidemic until 2014.
The threat of antibiotic-resistant superbugs looms large over humanity. The UN predicts that, by 2050, 10 million people will die from antibiotic-resistant infections. Many surgical procedures and routine medical treatments would become impossible if antibiotics stopped working. Vaccines won’t be able to help us anymore either; vaccines work by tricking our immune systems into producing antibodies against foreign invaders—but once microbes have acquired resistance to multiple antibiotics (through mutating or swapping genes), vaccines will be useless.
Several types of epidemiological disasters can occur, including infectious and non-infectious ones. Infectious diseases include widespread outbreaks (like Ebola) or pandemics that spread from one host to another. Bioterrorism is a more specific type of disease, usually caused by the intentional release of a pathogen for strategic political or terrorist purposes.
Epidemic vs. Pandemic
When is a disease outbreak an epidemic, and when is it a pandemic? According to World Health Organization (WHO) experts, an epidemic occurs when there are more cases of a particular disease than expected in that area and period. A pandemic occurs when a disease spreads to several countries on all seven continents.
Also read:- types of pandemics https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandemic