Pandemic Pandemonium

When someone ten thousand miles away sneezes, you might indeed catch a cold—or something worse. From the millions of unnecessary deaths in the developing world to the new vulnerabilities of the developed nations, why our current approach to stoppi

Issue: 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.

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