Showing posts from May, 2020

Where does 'catch a cold' come from?

Lest the bargain should catch cold and starve. (Iachimo, Act 1 Scene 4)   Shakespeare introduces the phrase 'to catch cold' in Cymbeline (1610). This was his 'comeback'  play after theatres had been 'dark' (closed) for a long period due to a plague epidemic in London.  'Catch cold' is a euphemism here. Iachimo is thinking of something more serious than a blocked nose and a sore throat. The Common Cold: Vocabulary Worksheet

What is the difference between an epidemic and a pandemic?

An epidemic is the rapid spread of an infectious disease, usually in a particular area over a short period of time. E pidemiologists look for these additional key features a high number of infections in relation to the expected number. Endemic diseases (like influenza) return every year but usually at a low and predictable rate. spread accelerated by person-to-person transmission a rapidly increasing morbidity rate (proportion of the population with disease)  a population that extends beyond shared accommodation (not a cruise ship, for example, where the world outbreak would be used.) For endemic diseases an epidemic can be clearly marked on a statistical chart - with a sudden rising curve .  Here the data from hospital visits in the US suggests a possible influenza epidemic in the winter of 2007/8  (credit: modification of work by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from ' The language of epidemiology ') With a new pathogen, it is more difficult to identify the start