Advances in vaccination can transform a pandemic into a seasonal endemic, says infectious disease specialist

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A year after the application of the first vaccine against Covid-19 in Brazil, infectious disease physician Luana Araújo spoke about the scenario of the pandemic in the country in an interview with CNN, this Monday (17).

According to the doctor, if the country keeps advancing in the vaccination of adults and children, the pandemic could turn into a seasonal endemic.

“If vaccination continues to advance in children, if there is a vaccine for children under five and if adults continue to vaccinate, the rest seems to respond very well to this story. We should have the tendency, if this continues and if the virus does not create confusion, we can think of a future for the pandemic – for this year still – of greater control of a transformation of an endemic and seasonal pandemic”, he said. the doctor.

However, according to the infectologist, the improvement of the pandemic defends the speed of vaccination coverage

“That’s what we expect to happen, but it depends on the speed of vaccination coverage. We need to reach 100% of vaccinated adults, not only in terms of coverage, but also in terms of the speed at which this happens, because this reduces the chance of this virus continuing to mutate and, exceptionally, becoming something worse than the Ômicron. If we manage to vaccinate, we can control the pandemic this year, but in global terms this means a tremendous effort”, he said.

Difference between outbreak, epidemic, endemic and pandemic

Carlos Magno, professor at the Faculty of Medicine at Unesp (Universidade Estadual Paulista) and member of the Covid-19 contingency group in the state of São Paulo, explains that these are technical names that describe the scope of a disease.

“Epidemic is when a disease presents an abrupt growth, beyond what is expected”, he says. “We don’t call it an epidemic when they are seasonal diseases, such as dengue, in which cases grow every year at the same time. When an epidemic happens constantly over time in the same place, it is called an endemic”.

Magno explains that outbreak is a diminutive term for epidemic. “This is a term used generically to describe a smaller epidemic, confined to one place, such as an outbreak of flu in a nursing home, an outbreak of bacteria in a hospital.”

And a pandemic, what is it? “Pandemic is the name for a global epidemic. It is the WHO that determines whether an epidemic will be called a pandemic, but there is a technical criterion: there must be active transmission on at least three continents”, he says.

Magno emphasizes that it is the international body that makes the decision. “It has some flexibility. Ebola, without reaching this situation, was described as an international health emergency.” In July 2019, the WHO declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo an emergency, which infected 2,500 people and killed 1,670.

Reference: CNN Brasil

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