The Human Costs of Epidemics are Going Down But the Economic Costs are Going Up

By Vanessa Candeias – Re-Blogged From World Economic Forum

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the deadliest epidemic in history – the 1918 Spanish Influenza outbreak, which killed around 50 million people.

More recently, several outbreaks with equally familiar names have made headlines: SARS, swine flu, MERS, Ebola, Zika, yellow fever, Lassa fever, cholera, drug resistant infections… the list could go on. In fact, every month the World Health Organization receives 5,000 early-warning disease signals from across the globe, around 300 of which need further investigation and of which 30 warrant more in-depth field studies to investigate their potential for causing epidemics.

A health worker stands by ready to ask incoming passengers to remove any head gears before temperature screenings at the International Airport in Hong Kong April 27, 2009. Asia, a continent that has battled deadly viruses such as the H5N1 bird flu and SARS in recent years, began taking steps over the weekend to ward off a new flu virus.   REUTERS/Vincent Yu/Pool   (CHINA POLITICS HEALTH IMAGES OF THE DAY) - GM1E54R15DW01