The coronavirus outbreak has prompted fears about pandemics. Scientists use mathematical methods to understand the spread of a virus.
Although each person can pass on a virus or germ to someone they contact, the disease won’t spread if the individual has a resistance to it, has been vaccinated, or has already been exposed.
Factors that Influence Viral Spread
- Population Size
- Contagious Days
What is a Pandemic?
A pandemic is an outbreak of a contagious disease that can affect a large region or international borders. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a disease can emerge if three conditions are met.
- A new type of virus emerges.
- It causes severe illness.
- It spreads quickly among people.
A pandemic usually occurs following the emergence of a new disease. Examples of previous outbreaks include the Spanish flu and the swine flu.
A pandemic is a disease that spreads globally. For instance, the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic affected various regions worldwide.
The Antonine Plague (165-180)
It’s believed that the outbreak was measles or smallpox, brought to Europe by troops returning from distant regions.
The first known cholera outbreak in 1816 occurred in India. It then spread to other regions and countries before it reached North America and Europe in the 1820s. The most recent outbreak started in 1961 and affected Bangladesh, India, and Russia. It was the seventh.
The Spanish Flu Pandemic
The 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak first emerged in Kansas. It was reported on March 11 by a cook at Fort Riley. It then affected more than 10,000 men in a military camp.
The men infected with the virus then traveled to Europe and spread it to other areas. Eventually, the pandemic reached a global scale and killed about 100 million people. It’s believed that up to 500,000 individuals in the US died from the disease.
Asian Flu Pandemic (1957-58)
Scientific advancements allowed researchers to identify the 1957 Asian flu pandemic quickly. Although a limited supply of vaccines was made available after the outbreak in China, it quickly spread across the US and killed almost 70,000 people.
A panel of the WHO studied the pandemic from 1957 to 1958 and learned that the disease spreads quickly among people. They also noted that outbreaks started in schools and army units.
As early as 1918, officials knew the virus could spread if infected individuals visited schools, churches, or theaters. To minimize the effects of the disease, officials acted to prevent people from attending large gatherings.
An influenza pandemic is usually unstoppable since it can spread quickly through coughing and sneezing. The virus can also pass to others before symptoms appear.
One of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of the flu is by discouraging people from getting in touch with one another. Besides vaccinations, other measures, such as using medicines, can also help control the disease.
To understand how quarantine would affect the spread of the flu, a user must first determine the variables that can affect the disease’s movement.
For instance, if a medicine is developed that can reduce the duration of an infected person’s contagious condition, this would affect the virus’ spread.
A vaccine developed that can help uninfected individuals reduce their likelihood of getting sick would also affect the spread of the virus.