Outbreaks, Epidemics and Pandemics
Outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics and their impact on human populations.
The amount of disease that is normally present in a population within a geographical area is referred to as the endemic level of disease. When disease starts to spread, outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics can occur, all of which can have significant impact on human populations.
These terms, although often easily confused, have very different meanings. The US Centre for Disease Control defines these terms as follows:
Epidemic: An increase, often sudden, in the number of cases of a disease above what is normally expected in that population in that area.
Outbreak: Carries the same definition of epidemic, but is often used for a more limited geographic area.
Pandemic: An epidemic that has spread over several countries or continents, usually affecting a large number of people.
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