Pandemic PandemoniumIssue: July-Aug 2008
PANDEMIC. THE word can spread fear to billions overnight. One of the few public-health terms that gives Hollywood nightmare plotlines. Literally meaning "all people," a pandemic is an extraordinary global health event in which an epidemic of infectious disease spreads across regions and, potentially, the entire planet. Ebola, avian flu, SARS-each had the potential to spread rapidly and each received extraordinary attention during the past several years. Though they did not result in mass casualties, all wrought worldwide fear.