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 KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270

www.kff.org | Email Alerts: kff.org/email | facebook.com/KaiserFamilyFoundation | twitter.com/kff

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