What's in a name?

In this morning's New York Times, Dr. Larry Altman discusses problems with usage of the term "pandemic." He notes that a "useful definiton is far more complicated and elusive than officials thought," and reference sources are contradictory and imprecise. As Dan questioned in previous posts here and here, does pandemic only involve how widespread the disease is geographically or does it also have implications for severity of illness? Help is apparently on the way, since Dr. Altman's piece points out that the Control of Communicable Diseases Manual, the bible for field epidemiologists, will contain a definition for pandemic.


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