PandemicRecently the word pandemic has been in the news. What is a pandemic? How many have there been in the world’s history? Let’s learn some hard facts about pandemics.

* A pandemic is a global outbreak of an infectious disease. It can affect animals, birds and people.

* Pandemics have been around since 430 B.C. The first known pandemic struck during the Peloponnian War.

* In 1832, a cholera pandemic struck London, Europe and New York. By 1834, it had spread up the west coast of North America, leaving thousands of dead in its wake.

* Several other pandemics have gripped the world, including the 541 bubonic plague and the 165 Antonine plague which is not thought to have been smallpox.

* In 1918/19, the Spanish Flu spread to the corners of the globe. It killed 25 million people within six months. The cause has never been determined.

* HIV is a pandemic.

* The World Health Organization predicts that a pandemic is long overdue. It is thought that the Avian Flu will reach into the far corners of the globe. Will millions die, or will Tamiflu, a medication stop this strong flu virus in its tracks?