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p. 636. Epidemics and pandemicsfree

  • Dorothy H. Crawford


Once an acute emerging virus is successfully established in a population, it generally settles into a mode of cyclical epidemics during which many susceptible people are infected and become immune to further attack. When most are immune, the virus moves on, only returning when a new susceptible population has emerged, generally consisting of those born since the last epidemic. ‘Epidemics and pandemics’ considers historical epidemics of viruses, vaccination programmes, and the spread of viruses from one continent to another—pandemics. Airborne viruses mainly cause respiratory illnesses, like flu, the common cold, or pneumonia, while those transmitted by faecal–oral contamination, like rotaviruses and noroviruses, cause intestinal upsets with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea.

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