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Angelo M. Filippi, Kelley Kronenberg partner in Davie, FL (Photo: Courtesy Photo) Angelo M. Filippi, Kelley Kronenberg partner in Davie, FL (Photo: Courtesy Photo)

First, a little history lesson. Starting in Hong Kong and spreading throughout China and then into the United States, in 1957, the “Asian flu” pandemic became widespread in England where, over six months, 14,000 people died. A second wave followed in early 1958, causing an estimated total of about 1.1 million deaths globally, with 116,000 deaths in the United States alone. The last influenza pandemic occurred in spring 2009, when a novel influenza A (H1N1) virus, better known as “swine flu,” emerged. It was first detected in the United States and spread quickly around the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide died from this infection during the first year the virus circulated.

The Avian flu, Zika and Ebola viruses all resulted in mainly localized concerns, and measures were enacted to limit the spread of these viruses. All resulted in epidemics, but none was considered a pandemic. According to the CDC, an influenza pandemic occurs when a novel influenza virus can be spread from person to person resulting in a global outbreak affecting a very large number of people. Another condition for a pandemic to occur is that most people will not have immunity to the new virus. The only currently existing pandemic is HIV (AIDS), which was identified in the 1980s and for which there is no known cure.

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