Articles on Pandemic

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Policemen wearing masks provided by the American Red Cross in Seattle, 1918. Wikimedia Commons

Why historians ignored the Spanish flu

For nearly 50 years academic and popular writers ignored the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. A hundred years later, historians can't get enough of it.
Bejing. Bird flu is transmitted in various ways and the process needs to be studied in depth. Sojourner in a Strange Land/Flicker

Bird flu: are viruses still in the air?

A scientific question fascinates experts : under which conditions can bird flu virus be transmitted to humans by aerial particles, and what will be the consequences for those who aren’t immune?
The term “epidemic” is now being used for more than infectious diseases. So what does it actually mean? AAPONE/Ahmed Jallanzo/

From plagues to obesity: how epidemics have evolved

The obesity epidemic, the flu epidemic, the opioid epidemic... in the 21st century, everything seems to be an "epidemic". But what does the term actually mean?
People and animals live side by side – and can have pathogens in common. Nichola Hill

Influenza’s wild origins in the animals around us

No one then knew a virus caused the 1918 flu pandemic, much less that animals can be a reservoir for human illnesses. Now virus ecology research and surveillance are key for public health efforts.
A CDC scientist measures the amount of H7N9 avian flu virus grown in a lab. James Gathany/CDC/Handout via REUTERS

3 ways the US should prepare for the next flu pandemic

Science has come a long way in the 100 years since the worst flu pandemic in history. But that doesn't mean that the country is ready for another health disaster.
Bats are the only mammals capable of true flight. Scientists believe flight may influence their immune responses to coronoviruses, which cause fatal diseases such as SARS and MERS in humans. (Shutterstock)

Can bats help humans survive the next pandemic?

Scientific studies show that bats may carry "coronoviruses" causing SARS and MERS - without showing symptoms of disease. Could the bat immune system be key to human survival in future pandemics?
Every year in Canada, there is an average of 23,000 cases of lab-confirmed influenza, 12,000 people who need to be admitted to hospital and 3,500 flu deaths. (Shutterstock)

The flu shot: Who should get it and why

As influenza season begins in North America, many people wonder whether to get a flu shot. Our expert delves into the pros and cons of the vaccine and how it works.
Vaccines for the flu offer mediocre coverage compared with those for other diseases. PLRANG ART/Shutterstock

Here’s why the 2017 flu season was so bad

A better vaccine could have reduced the rates of flu, but not the high-dose Fluzone vaccine doctors were touting at the start of the week.
John Gerrard says a developed city like Sydney could not cope with an epidemic of the scale of the recent Ebola outbreak. UNMEER/Martine Perret/Flickr

Speaking with: John Gerrard on preventing infectious diseases

Speaking with: Dr. John Gerrard on infectious diseases. The Conversation, CC BY-ND23.2 MB (download)
William Isdale speaks to Dr. John Gerrard about the constant threat of infectious diseases and what we can do to prevent a deadly pandemic from establishing itself in Australia.
Medical workers move a woman, who is suspected of having Ebola, upon her arrival at Meioxeiro Hospital, in Vigo, northwestern Spain, 28 October 2015. SALVADOR SAS (EPA)/ AAP

Speaking with: Peter Doherty about infectious disease pandemics

Professor Peter Doherty on infectious disease pandemics. The Conversation, CC BY-ND47.6 MB (download)
William Isdale speaks with the University of Melbourne's Professor Peter Doherty about infectious disease pandemics.
Computers may play an important role in preparing us for the next viral outbreak – whether flu or Ebola. UW Institute for Protein Design

Designing antiviral proteins via computer could help halt the next pandemic

This antivirus software protects health, not computers. Researchers are beginning to combat deadly infections using computer-generated antiviral proteins – a valuable tool to fight a future pandemic.
When a man was diagnosed with Ebola in Dallas in 2014, workers cleared out the apartment unit where he had been staying. Reuters/Jim Young

How Trump’s global health budget endangers Americans

President Trump wants to slash global health funding at a time when more investment is needed, not less. This spending can protect Americans – as well as foreigners – from deadly diseases.

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