What is the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic?
An epidemic occurs when a disease affects a greater number people than is usual for the locality or one that spreads to areas not usually associated with the disease. A pandemic is an epidemic of world-wide proportions. Check out infoplease.com for more information about Major U.S. Epidemics.
For example, in 2003, the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic took the lives of nearly 800 people worldwide. A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. HIV/AIDS is an example of one of the most destructive global pandemics in history. Spanish influenza killed 40-50 million people in 1918.
- A disease or condition is not a pandemic merely because it is widespread or kills many people; it must also be infectious. For instance, cancer is responsible for many deaths but is not considered a pandemic because the disease is not infectious or contagious.
- In 1952, during the worst recorded epidemic, 3,145 people, including 1,873 children, in the United States died from polio. That same year over 200,000 people (including 4,000 children) died of cancer and 20,000 (including 1,500 children) died of tuberculosis.
- In epidemiology, a disease vector is any agent that carries and transmits an infectious pathogen into another living organism; most agents regarded as vectors are organisms, such as intermediate parasites or microbes, but it could be an inanimate medium of infection such as dust particles.
Medical Definition of Endemic. Endemic: A characteristic of a particular population, environment, or region. Examples of endemic diseases include chicken pox that occurs at a predictable rate among young school children in the United States and malaria in some areas of Africa.
- A hyperendemic disease is one that is constantly present at a high incidence and/or prevalence rate and affects all groups equally. (
- Plant disease epidemiology is the study of disease in plant populations. Much like diseases of humans and other animals, plant diseases occur due to pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, oomycetes, nematodes, phytoplasmas, protozoa, and parasitic plants.
- The Nationally Notifiable Disease List provides comprehensive reporting of diseases that occur in the United States. Internationally notifiable diseases (i.e., cholera, plague, and yellow fever) are also reportable in compliance with the World Health Organization's International Health Regulations.
A pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease. An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges and spreads around the world, and most people do not have immunity. Viruses that have caused past pandemics typically originated from animal influenza viruses.
- A disease outbreak is the occurrence of disease cases in excess of normal expectancy. Outbreaks may also occur following exposure to chemicals or to radioactive materials. For example, Minamata disease is caused by exposure to mercury. Occasionally the cause of an outbreak is unknown, even after thorough investigation.
- Pandemic influenza is a global outbreak. An influenza pandemic occurs when a new flu virus emerges for which humans have little or no immunity, which allows the virus to spread easily from person to person worldwide.
- The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 killed more people than the Great War, known today as World War I (WWI), at somewhere between 20 and 40 million people. It has been cited as the most devastating epidemic in recorded world history.
Updated: 16th October 2019