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The Economic and Social Implications of Epidemics

By Sharon Lili Elhadad, M.A. and Dana Elhadad, M.Sc

Throughout history emerging infectious diseases have shaped the course of human history and have caused incalculable misery and death. New advances in science, technology and medicine have helped us gain ground against certain infectious diseases. However, even in the twenty-first century infectious diseases continue to emerge at a rapid pace. Many Emerging Infectious Diseases (EIDs) have been catalyzed by wars, loss of social cohesion, and natural disasters. Under these conditions and in addition to microbial or viral virulence factors, a contagious disease may lead to an epidemic outbreak. An epidemic is categorized as a fast growing outbreak that affects many people almost instantly, usually within a city. If the epidemic is not sufficiently contained it can become a pandemic outbreak, that has no social or geographical boundaries.

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