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Difference Between Pandemic and Epidemic: What Is the Difference Between an Epidemic and a Pandemic?

What Is the Difference Between an Epidemic and a Pandemic? A pandemic is majorly an epidemic that crossed the global boundaries irrespective of any country’s basic immunology, aetiology, virology, and degree of intensity. In the words of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an Epidemic is an unexpected or unforeseen breakout or outburst of any disease in an area, area here is specific to a particular region or territory. Also, all epidemics are not possibly transmissible too. While a Pandemic in the words of the CDC can be defined as an outburst of any disease beyond the geographical boundaries.

The major difference is of the degree of its spread. COVID-19 is the recent pandemic that has taken its grip on almost all parts of the globe. When was COVID-19 declared a pandemic? COVID-19 was first diagnosed in the city of Wuhan, China, but the virus was highly transmissible and pathogenic, the numbers soon expanded, and the virus spread out globally and on 11 March 2020, WHO declared it a Pandemic. Pandemic and Epidemic, these two words sound similar and related and are to an extent too but differ from each other on several grounds. In this article, we have covered all the details establishing the Difference Between Pandemic and Epidemic.

What is an Epidemic- Origin, Examples, and Stages

An Epidemic can be defined as an unforeseen and unexpected rise in the number of cases of a disease in an area.This sudden outburst in the number of cases of this infection is limited to a particular geographical boundary. How does an Epidemic occur? An epidemic may originate from any kind of infective, transmissible, or communicable living being like bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, etc. The infections caused by these are new and unknown to the human immune system. Another highlight of an Epidemic is that it may not be contagious or communicable too, like the West Nile Fever which is caused by an infected mosquito bite.

Mostly, epidemic outbreaks were in areas where these infections already exist but their outspread was under control. When it spreads out in that area it starts transmitting to all, even those who were earlier immune to or resistant to it. Some of the popular epidemics that the world has seen include Smallpox, Measles, Cholera, typhoid, HIV, Dengue or yellow fever, polio, etc.

How Pandemic is different from Epidemic- Origin, Examples, and Stages

If an infection or a disease spreads drastically across the nations or continents, it is called a Pandemic. The growth rate of infection or disease is quite high and usually multiplies in the case of a Pandemic. A Pandemic crosses several stages, to be more specific it goes through six stages as stated by WHO (World Health Organization).

The first stage is similar to an Epidemic where an infective, transmissible or communicable living being like a bacteria, virus, fungi, or parasite infects an animal. The second stage is where the infection starts spreading from animal to animal. The third stage is where the infection is passed from animals to humans. The fourth stage involves the outbreak of infection in communities, and cities. In the fifth stage minimum of two countries of the same territory see the outbreak of the same infection. The last stage i.e. the sixth stage is the declaration stage of a pandemic where it starts spreading in nations across other territories too through human contact.

The ongoing and the deadliest Pandemic Covid -19 is a perfect and the most recent example of a Pandemic. COVID-19 was caused by a virus strain which is identified as SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) in Wuhan China. Some of the other examples of pandemics include Spanish flu, Plague, H1N1 also known as Swine flu, HIV/AIDS, Black Death pandemic, Asian flu, and more.

Preventions to beat an Epidemic and a Pandemic

The outbreak of infection may also be the result of toxic substances present in the air, especially after some explosion, or exposure to some radiation or chemical. Even the weather conditions and after-effects of natural calamities can cause an outbreak of a disease or an infection. Though we cannot control the virus or the pathogen or the conditions specified above but vaccinations and taking care of our surroundings may help a lot in reducing its impact and spread further. These are the simple golden rules to follow during an Epidemic or a Pandemic, let’s read!

  • Keeping hygiene, using sanitizer, and washing hands frequently.
  • Wearing a mask, especially in public places.
  • Maintain and follow social distancing.
  • Self-regulations, like staying at home, not eating junk, etc.
  • Boosting immunity.