It could take just one cough, one kiss, one touch or even one bite to change not only your life, but the lives of everyone around you — and for months or even years. In most cases, the closer those people are to you, the greater the risk. But it isn’t always that simple. The risk at hand: an infectious outbreak. Public health experts believe we are at greater risk than ever of experiencing large-scale outbreaks and global pandemics like those we’ve seen before: SARS, swine flu, Ebola and Zika. More than 28,000 people were infected during the 2014-16 Ebola epidemic,

with over 11,000 deaths. And as of March 10, 84 countries have reported Zika transmission. That disease was discovered in the 1940s, but had its first outbreak in 2007 in Micronesia, and more recently began spreading toward the end of 2015. Every time, the infection’s arrival is unexpected and its scale unprecedented, leaving the world vulnerable. Experts are unanimous in the belief that the next outbreak contender will most likely be a surprise — and we need to be ready. READ MORE