Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Epidemics, Management of
Stella R. Quah
The standard biomedical definition of epidemic is the sudden spread of a disease among a number of people in excess of normal expectancy. Unlike most social problems, infectious disease epidemics are grave social problems not only because of the possible deadly nature of the disease but also because of the element of surprise and the social context of contamination. For most communities affected by an infectious disease epidemic, the outbreak is unexpected. The mode of contamination tends be a simple daily life activity involving social relations and practices that are innocuous under normal circumstances but that must be halted once the link with the disease becomes evident (e.g., preparing, buying, and selling food; collecting, storing, and drinking water; sharing garments or eating utensils; or engaging in close social and physical contact). The disruption of normal social and economic activities in the affected communities is one of the major consequences Thus ...