What is a Pandemic?
When a deadly disease spreads across larger areas covering one or more continents, or worse, the world, it is known as a pandemic. The world has seen a few such pandemics which shook people to the core. They are smallpox and tuberculosis. The HIV pandemic and the H1N1 flu were the most recent ones which occurred in 1918 and 2009 respectively.
Pandemics are highly underrated and people do not realize the importance of protecting oneself when such a situation breaks out. Strict precautions must be taken as per the nature of the disease, and healthy living habits must be adopted. For instance, when influenza pandemic happened, people were told to stay away from contaminated air lest they fell prey to the illness.
How is it caused?
A pandemic takes place when the virus becomes resistant to the traits of the human population. For instance, the influenza virus is H5N1 virus. It is avian but is rarely transmitted directly from birds to humans. Instead, the influenza virus of both human and bird origin get their RNA strains mixed, thereby giving birth to a totally new influenza virus with exceptional properties and traits. This combination takes place inside animals such as pigs, or sometimes even humans.
When a pandemic of such a virus takes place, there is apparently no resistance the immune system can provide against the stringer and better virus. What happens next is a massive outbreak of the disease. This leads to a large number of deaths throughout the world. In some cases, the virus remains hidden and returns when the immunity levels of the community have gone down drastically.
The pandemic breakouts of the Russian flu had genes with traits similar to that of the H1N1 virus, indicating that the Russian flu virus was, in fact, a modification of the H1N1 virus.
What are the lethal effects of a Pandemic?
The most common and horrifying effect of a pandemic is the deaths of people occurring in undeniably large numbers. There is absolutely no way to prevent the disease once it is at its peak. A few centuries ago, an infection with the pandemic virus was considered death even before treatment. With the advent of modern medical treatments and vaccinations, it has become possible to address the issue.
The infection causing virus and the fear of contracting the disease causes chaos in the minds of people. They lose their presence of mind and commit to steps which could directly lead to their infection. Also, a lot of disturbance is caused on an emotional level to see so many people dying all at once. It is heartbreaking to see your loved ones fall prey to the disease. Severe pandemics could even wipe out entire villages and towns.
During the occurrence of a pandemic, it is next to impossible to control the virus because of two reasons. One, the infection spreads to such a large extent that even when solid steps are taken, the situation is far from control. And two, the immunity level of almost every person is considerably low which makes them vulnerable to catch the virus.
How can a Pandemic be addressed effectively?
Deadly viruses are on the loose and a pandemic must be expected shortly. Infections like flu, Ebola virus, H1N1 and bird flu have all proved that pandemics can occur even when the world is at its best of medical facilities and aids. The government is preparing itself for the worst and inevitable of circumstances regarding another pandemic occurrence.
- A new medical emergence responsive team has been formed in order to aid medical treatments to nip such a situation in its bud.
- Plenty of other programs are also being launched in order to bring microbial and viral factors under control to prevent another pandemic.
- Vaccinations play an important part in such situations. The government is also undertaking vaccination campaigns to improve the immunity of the masses.
- Education regarding the dos and don’ts is imparted to the people to help them understand a pandemic better, to take necessary precautions, and also to assist their fellows in such a situation.