What is an epidemic emergency?
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What is an epidemic emergency? book
This chapter asks how a given disease outbreak comes to be understood – or not – as an epidemic emergency. Drawing on the field of historical ontology, it argues that contemporary techniques for classifying disease emergencies are part of a more general system of global health preparedness. In particular, the chapter focuses on the category of the ‘public health emergency of international concern’, as it has been used in recent outbreaks such as H1N1 (2009), Ebola (2014), and Zika (2016). This category makes it possible for global health experts and officials to assimilate a specific event into a more general form, making it more comprehensible and therefore potentially manageable.