Global Pandemic

A pandemic (from Greek πᾶν pan "all" and δῆμος demos "people") is an epidemic of infectious disease that has spread through human populations across a large region; for instance multiple continents, or even worldwide.

Whilst the subject has been explored in numerous movies and TV shows the reality is that there are so many people crowded into the world's cities and we can travel so easily between countries and continents that it wouldn't take much to start a pandemic and there have been a number of them throughout history; the Black Death (Bubonic Plague) in medieval Europe and Spanish Flu in 1918.

Whilst neither of these caused an extinction level event there is no doubt that a global pandemic of an air borne disease that had a very high mortality rate could come very close.

To be clear, this is an extinction level event that would only impact humanity though it would have a knock-on effect on those animals that depend on us or feed on us.

Here is an article from CNN that goes into some depth on this subject and presents some worrying scenarios...

 Seven reasons we're at more risk than ever of a global pandemic

and another from the Harvard Business School...

 The World Is Completely Unprepared for a Global Pandemic

and from The Guardian newspaper...

 A deadly disease could travel at jet speed around the world. How do we stop it in time?

Like movies and TV, there are no end of serious papers and articles discussing the probability of a global pandemic - a brief search on Google returned almost 13 million hits and they all agree that a pandemic is a highly likely event that most probably will occur and has the potential to virtually wipe out humanity.

This article contains a list of the worst pandemics along with a good collection of sources and other papers...

 OUTBREAK: 10 OF THE WORST PANDEMICS IN HISTORY

There are some scenarios that are a lot more plausible and likely - a global pandemic isn't an "if" scenario, it's a "when"."