Table 3.

Eight Characteristics of Pandemics.

The eight characteristics are related to the microbes themselves, or to the human–microbe interaction.*

Feature Comments
Novelty Mostly unknown to the medical profession
Minimal population immunity Frequent absence of specific IgG antibodies
Explosiveness Determined mainly by size or density of population and factors related to type of transmission, for example vector population
Fast disease movement Type and speed of human transmission
Wide geographic extension Social interaction of populations, widespread common source
Infectiousness Ability of microbes to produce disease (minimal infective dose)
Contagiousness Proportion of completely asymptomatic cases, super-spreaders, and evident and pathognomonic disease markers
Severity Need for hospitalization, artificial ventilation, or intensive rehydration; chronicity or death
*Examples of interacting human factors include background immunity, means of transmission, and healthcare system quality.
RMMJ Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal Rambam Health Care Campus 2020 July; 11(3): e0027. ISSN: 2076-9172
Published online 2020 July 31. doi: 10.5041/RMMJ.10418.