5.1 What is a Pandemic?

Hands with latex gloves holding a globe. Taped on the globe is a square memo with "pandemic" printed on it
Global Pandemic.

A pandemic is an epidemic occurring worldwide, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people (Health Canada, 2018). The World Health Organization (WHO) declares a pandemic when the growth rate of an infectious disease skyrockets, and each day cases grow more than the day prior (Columbia Public Health, 2021). Plagues are a type of infectious disease pandemic, but the term is often used in describing older pandemics like the Black Death. “The word ‘plague’ is a polyseme, used interchangeably to describe a particular, virulent contagious febrile disease caused by Yersinia pestis, as a general term for any epidemic disease causing a high rate of mortality, or more widely, as a metaphor for any sudden outbreak of a disastrous evil or affliction” (Huremović, 2019, p. 8). The following section provides a more in-depth analysis of facts pertaining to, as well as the history of plagues/infectious disease pandemics (here after referred to as pandemics).

Click the link below to learn the differences between epidemics, endemics, and pandemics:

Epidemic, Endemic, Pandemic: What are the Differences?



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On Death and Dying Copyright © 2022 by Jacqueline Lewis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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