Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues…

Understanding Difference Between Pandemics, Epidemics Critical To Preparedness Efforts

CIDRAP: COMMENTARY: Pandemic preparedness and missed opportunities
Michael T. Osterholm, director of CIDRAP

“…[The PATH report released last week] … generates some confusion about preparing and responding to pandemics versus preparing and responding to epidemics. … It seems we’ve lost an understanding of the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic and what is required to prepare and respond to each. And that greatly hinders the public health, medical, and business communities — as well as governments and philanthropic organizations — from clearly articulating and acting on meaningful preparedness activities. … [T]here are only two infectious disease situations that can be considered inevitable, serious pandemic threats: influenza and antimicrobial resistance. … [Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA)] support, as essential as it is to addressing diseases of critical regional importance, will not begin to touch the most minimal of required preparedness activities for a pandemic. Confusing these two requirements … is a costly mistake for public health. … The influenza and antimicrobial pandemic clocks are ticking … Misunderstanding and misrepresenting what we need to do to be better prepared takes an understanding of what a pandemic is and what it isn’t…” (10/31).

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Headquarters: 2400 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270 | Email Alerts: | |

Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.