a disease can be called a pandemic when: • the disease has not affected the population before. • the disease-causing microorganisms or agents spread easily. • the disease causes severe illness and is life-threatening. Pandemic Stages According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pandemic diseases have three stages: the interpandemic period, the pandemic alert period, and the pandemic period. In the interpandemic period, the disease is detected in new populations. Pandemic alert indicates that the disease has begun to spread. When the disease has been transmitted to the general population, it is called the pandemic period.
SIDEBAR: DID YOU KNOW?
• Some epidemics are contagious, some are not. But illnesses must be infectious to qualify as pandemics. • The word pandemic is derived from the Greek word pandemos , meaning “pertaining to all people.”
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