Epidemic, Endemic, and Pandemic: differences and characteristics.

April 02, 2020

Epidemic, Endemic, and Pandemic: differences and characteristics.

Epidemic, Endemic, and Pandemic are three of these words of medical terms due to the lack of information, we confuse or do not understand. When a new virus appears that threatens to risk the health of society. We hear certain words that always repeated in the speeches of health professionals.

To keep you up to date with the news and know exactly what the experts talking about when these important topics covered. We tell you everything you need to know about the epidemic, endemic and pandemic: differences and characteristics.

What is an Epidemic

We speak of an epidemic or an epidemic outbreak. When the disease appears that directly affects a group of people in a certain area. Usually, the term epidemic used when the number of individuals affected by said disease exceeds the number that was initially estimated.

Although we usually refer to an epidemic when outbreaks are infectious, there is a possibility that this is not the case. When we talk, for example, of food poisoning in a certain area. We speak of an epidemic despite not being a contagious infection.

To prevent and treat an epidemic, it is necessary to isolate those infected for a certain period and vaccinate, if possible, healthy subjects to avoid contagion. As for infected people, it will be necessary to carry out a thorough study to find the appropriate treatment and pay attention to the evolution of the sick patient.

What does Endemic mean?

We speak of endemic disease when a disease (in most cases infectious) is characteristic of a specific country or region. These recurring illnesses at certain times of the year are usually due to local problems in the same region.

These diseases are highly prevalent in specific areas or groups without leaving their regions, constantly appearing and for long periods. As a result of infectious agents harmful to the health of certain areas. The appearance of endemic diseases is a consequence of:

  • External factors: such as climate changes, a low standard of living for the population, lack of good public services, lack of prevention, etc.
  • Factors of the same infectious agent: such as mutations because the virus makes resistance to existing drugs, their virulence, etc.

Among the most significant endemic diseases is malaria in the Americas, in Southeast Asia and Africa, and dengue in several parts of Latin America (among many others).

What is Pandemic

A pandemic is the spread of disease between two or more countries and, in the worst case, worldwide. So that occurs if there are no effective vaccines to counteract it. The most common pandemics are due to new forms of influenza. The appearance of strains of a virus that is already known to spread throughout the world because people do not have immunity against the pathogen.

One of the most relevant confirmed pandemics in history was the one caused by the Ebola virus (EVE) in 2014. This disease, with initial symptoms very similar to those of the flu (headache, fever, sore throat, tiredness, muscle pain), caused almost 12,000 deaths in two years. Although the virus was indeed contained thanks to the creation of a vaccine. It still has a 90% case fatality if it not treated immediately.

Regarding recent cases, many people wonder if the Coronavirus (CoV), originated in Wuhan, China, is a pandemic and the answer is yes, the Coronavirus is already a pandemic.

How to differentiate epidemic, endemic and pandemic

As we have seen, it can be difficult to differentiate an epidemic from an endemic and a pandemic. Therefore, we talk about the most relevant differences:

Geographical differences

The epidemic encompasses large numbers of individuals from the total population of a country without leaving its borders. These types were diseases known and recurrent. The country’s sanitary conditions, prevention campaigns, rapid action by government entities and public health policies, etc., depending on their spread.

The endemic, on the other hand, is a disease typical of a region that appears from time to time in specific regions and that, if it spreads throughout a country, becomes an epidemic.

A pandemic occurs when a certain disease transmitted outside the borders where it first appears. In the most severe cases, the disease can spread throughout the world. We speak of a pandemic when we refer to an unknown disease that has spread and for which there is no medication to counteract it in the short term.

Population differences

Epidemics can occur in a large number of people depending on the geographical extension of the country.

Endemics, on the other hand, infect only people from smaller regions, their spread being notably less than that of epidemics.

Pandemics often affect many more people, as they reach individuals from different countries and regions of the world.

Differences in Treatment

If epidemics generally occur in a country. It because the medications are no longer effective, something that happens when the disease becomes resistant to drugs. It may also be that the new population not vaccinated or has no defenses against these diseases.

Endemic diseases, appearing with a certain regularity in certain areas, can be treated with fewer complications, since their inhabitants prepared. so that they not transmitted so easily.

Pandemics, initially, have no cure, as they are new and unknown diseases that can spread remarkably quickly. Adequate treatment can found through the intensive study of affected patients.

Differences in government management

Epidemics require considerable government attention and private entities in the country in crisis to counter it. In most cases, epidemics also require international help from their close neighbors. So to prevent the spread of the disease to other bordering or nearby countries.

Endemic diseases generally treated internally by local authorities. Since in very few cases can they become epidemics that affect an entire country.

Pandemics require the attention of the carrier country to prevent it from expanding rapidly to other regions of the world. However, they also require the international collaboration of neighboring countries. That control common borders and the great world powers to create vaccines and medicines that counteract and prevent this new disease in the rest of the world population.

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