What is the difference between an Endemic, Epidemic and Pandemic?
Epidemiology is the collective term for the study of global causes, patterns and effects of health and disease conditions. Within the study of epidemiology, the terms endemic, epidemic and pandemic are utilised to describe the rate and prevalence of infection within a specific population. Endemic is the term used to describe an infectious outbreak that is maintained within a population without the need for external inputs, for example Varicella (chickenpox) remain a consistent health condition within the UK whilst Malaria, is not an endemic disease due to the lack of a suitable vector. An epidemic is the term used to describe the rapid spread of infection through a specific population over a short period of time, such as the Ebola outbreak within West Africa. Finally, a pandemic is an epidemic which has spread through the population of a larger region, over multiple continents or worldwide, an example of a worldwide pandemic is HIV and AIDS which originated in Africa and has spread globally.
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