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Mercer Slough Oct. 2017.JPG

A pandemic is a disease that infects large amounts of human populations spreading across a vast region, even multiple continents and worldwide. The most severe pandemics are new diseases that are highly infectious and lethal. New diseases can dramatically inhibit a community’s ability to provide healthcare, hospital availability, and other critical services. The 20th century has seen great strides made in medicine, but new deadly disease outbreaks still remain a threat.

Past pandemic examples include tuberculosis, influenza, hepatitis, smallpox, malaria, E. coli, typhus, and cholera, as well as HIV and the H1N1 in 2009. In 2020, COVID-19 has become a global pandemic. New diseases can become a pandemic if there is little immunity built up in communities, which can often be the case.

If a pandemic is highly infectious and deadly, healthcare services will be extremely limited, and individuals may have to take personal steps to protect themselves from infection. Personal practices like avoiding close contact with other individuals, staying home when a disease breaks out, frequently washing your hands, covering your mouth and nose, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth can greatly contribute to avoiding infection from a pandemic.

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