virgin population

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A population that has not previously been exposed to a specific infectious pathogenic microorganism and in which, therefore, there is no herd immunity. Consequently, an epidemic affects virtually everyone, regardless of age, and sometimes has high case fatality rates. Historical examples include the original indigenous populations of the Americas, who suffered devastating epidemics of smallpox, measles, and tuberculosis when first in contact with European colonizers who brought these pathogens with them.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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