Pandemics: Risks, Impacts, and Mitigation

Authors: Nita Madhav, Ben Oppenheim, Mark Gallivan, Prime Mulembakani, Edward Rubin, Nathan Wolfe


Findings concerning risks, impacts, and mitigation of pandemics as well as knowledge gaps of pandemics are presented in this chapter. Pandemics—defined as large-scale outbreaks of infectious disease that can greatly increase morbidity and mortality over a wide geographic area and cause significant economic, social, and political disruption—have increased in number over the past century because of increased global travel and integration, urbanization, changes in land use, and greater exploitation of the natural environment. These trends will likely continue and intensify. Significant policy attention has focused on the need to identify and limit emerging outbreaks that might lead to pandemics and to expand and sustain investment to build preparedness and health capacity. The international community has made progress toward preparing for and mitigating the impacts of pandemics, but despite these improvements, significant gaps and challenges exist in global pandemic preparedness. Progress toward meeting the International Health Regulations (IHR) has proven uneven, and many countries have been unable to meet basic requirements for compliance, leading to pandemics having a disproportionately higher mortality impact on low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).


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