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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 2441-2449

Flashback and lessons learnt from history of pandemics before COVID-19

1 Dr. S.N. Medical College, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India
2 Department of Pharmacology, AIIMS, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Surjit Singh
Department of Pharmacology, AIIMS, Jodhpur, Rajasthan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_2320_20

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With an increasing frequency of infectious disease outbreaks, the COVID-19 pandemic causing mortality around the world and the threat of similar future events looming large, mankind is faced with the herculean task of counteracting such threats with the best possible strategies and public health decisions. It is key that such decisions should be guided by previous examples of similar health emergencies. Here we review some of the significant infectious disease outbreaks, including epidemics and pandemics occurring worldwide in the past including their impact at population and global levels, unique challenges presented by each and the measures taken by authorities worldwide as well as the crucial lessons each epidemic or pandemic provided. This review highlights that throughout history measures such as contact tracing, quarantine and isolation have been incredibly effective in limiting an outbreak in its severity, thus ensuring accurate information flow to the public is as essential as limiting the spread of misinformation. With global populations rising, surveillance for emerging and re-emerging pathogens will play an immense role in preventing future epidemics or pandemics. And finally that even though for novel strains or pathogens, although vaccines are thought to be an irreplaceable defense, but their development and distribution in time to curb an epidemic has seldom been witnessed and remains an important challenge for the future. Hence, we conclude that looking at these past examples not only highlights the important knowledge gained for the strategies to devise, but also the mistakes that can be avoided in the way forward.

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