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The Ebola crisis has reached a fevered pitch over the past several weeks. The virus has done more than make people sick—it has exposed serious business operational weaknesses, which may result in unexpected gaps in property and casualty insurance coverages.

In addition to the need to understand the fine print in business insurance policies, it’s useful to review the terminology that defines communicable diseases. There appears to be a widespread misunderstanding of the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic; some newscasters and others who are commenting on Ebola appear to use the terminology interchangeably. One needs to look no further than a dictionary to discern the distinction:

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