A disease outbreak is called an epidemic when the number of people who become
infected in a country or setting rises well beyond what is usual. A pandemic infects
many more people and entails spread to a much wider geographical area, often
worldwide. The Commission on a Global Health Risk Framework for the Future
estimated the expected economic losses from potential pandemics could amount to
about $60 billion per year. The coronavirus epidemic has already cost the world
economy trillions of dollars, so the Commission’s estimate has been vastly

The WHO lists the following infectious diseases as being epidemic and pandemic:
• Airborne diseases: influenza (seasonal, pandemic, avian), severe acute
respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus
• Vector-borne diseases: yellow fever, chikungunya, Zika fever, West Nile fever
• Water-borne diseases: cholera, shigellosis, typhoid fever
• Epidemic meningitis
• Rodent-borne diseases: plague, leptospirosis, hantavirus, Lassa fever, rickettsia
(murine typhus)
• Hemorrhagic fevers: Ebola virus disease, Marburg virus disease, Crimean-
Congo hemorrhagic fever, Rift Valley fever
• Other zoonotic diseases: Nipah virus infection, Hendra virus infection
Other infectious diseases include those caused by:
• Protozoa
 Chagas disease
 Human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness)
 Leishmaniases
• Bacteria
 Buruli ulcer
 Leprosy (Hansen disease)
 Trachoma
 Yaws
• Helminths
 Cysticercosis/Taeniasis
 Dracunculiasis (guinea worm disease)
 Echinococcosis
 Foodborne trematodiases
 Lymphatic filariasis
 Onchocerciasis (river blindness)
 Schistosomiasis
 Soil-transmitted helminthiases
• Virus
 Dengue and Chikungunya
 Rabies

The headlines about Ebola, Zika, SARS, MRSA bacteria, West Nile Virus, MDR
TB (multidrug-resistant tuberculosis), and flesh-eating bacteria (necrotizing fasciitis)
have been replaced by nonstop news about the coronavirus pandemic. And
infections such as those caused by the influenza virus and other causes of pneumonia
and food poisoning are still with us. They are common infections that can be
quite serious and often are fatal. The continuing risk of infectious diseases makes
it imperative that we take care of our health by getting recommended vaccinations
and practicing good hygiene, especially in the midst of the coronavirus epidemic.

This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel.