Sicherheitskultur im Wandel

Topics: Pandemics 

 
 

Pandemics / Health Risks

Since the millennium we speak of 'new' pandemics such as SARS in the spring of 2002 or the so called 'Swine Influenza' in the years 2009-2010. Due to the increasing mobility and interconnectedness since the 1990s, transborder or transcontinental infections have developed a new potential of threats along international air routes. The fight against 'Swine Influenza' in the 2009 has cost the German Government approximately 500 million Euros just for the supply of vaccine doses. This raises questions of how an appropriate health policy should look like that, on the one hand, effectively protects against damages to health threats reaching form pandemics to potential bio-terrorism, by, on the other hand, responsibly minimizing financial costs and restrictions of the free movement of individuals to a minimum.

The speed of dissemination of pathogens has increased massively due to the rise of global transportation of goods, services, and tourism. The world-wide travel ensures that every point on earth can be reached within 36 hours - for tourists and business travelers as well as for the viruses that are invisibly carried with them. Moreover, due to the increasing urbanization and the growth of mega cities with an extremely high population density the number of potential victims might be much higher than in the past. These risks have made national and international emergency planning necessary. However, preventive actions such as mass vaccinations are very expensive and politically contested. The perception of potentially significant economic losses - the potential disease of large sections of the working population and the resulting loss in production, trade and tourism - has led to a change. Former individualized risks - the personal health of the body - become increasingly an issue of public security interests. The project is tracking these developments on the individual, societal and international level.

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