The World Health Organization today declared 2019-nCoV a public health emergency of international concern. This is the sixth such designation since 2009; earlier emergencies included the swine flu in 2009, Ebola in 2014 and 2019, polio in 2014 and Zika in 2016.
The novel coronavirus from China that had infected at least 634 people as of early today has led some media to report about the potential of a pandemic.
Reporters localizing the story for their audiences should be able to answer these questions: When does an infectious disease outbreak become a pandemic, and is it likely with this virus? How worried should Americans be? Continue reading
On New Year’s Eve, an infectious disease story emerged from China involving a mysterious pneumonia that has sickened dozens and raised alarm bells across Asia.
While the Chinese government says the outbreak, which began on Dec. 12, hasn’t resulted in any deaths, the strange illnesses are a cause of concern because China was the epicenter of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in 2003. SARS sickened 3,100 people and killed 774 in 37 countries in less than a year. Continue reading