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Difference Between Epidemic and Pandemic

Main Difference

The main difference between the Epidemic and Pandemic is that the Epidemic is the outbreak of a disease in such a way that a large geographical area is affected, whereas Pandemic is the outbreak of a disease over many countries or the whole world.

Epidemic vs. Pandemic

The epidemic is the occurrence of a disease that ranges over a large geographical area. On the other side, the pandemic is an outbreak of a disease in the whole country or the world. So, it can be said that disease is an epidemic when it is in a specific large geographical area, but it becomes pandemic when it spread to different countries or the whole world. So, we can also say that a pandemic disease in an endemic one at a national level.

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In the word ‘epidemic, the word ‘epi’ means ‘later’ while the word ‘demic’ is derived from a Greek word ‘dêmos,’ which stands for “people of a district.” On the flip side, the word ‘pandemic’ is derived from the Greek word ‘pándēmos,’ which means “common or public.” An epidemic problem infects fewer people as compared to a pandemic one that affects a very large number of people worldwide. So, a pandemic disease causes more deaths as compared to the epidemic.

An epidemic problem may or may not be the result of a new virus or strain. On the flip side, the pandemic problem mostly causes by a new virus or strain that was not present in the world for a long time. So, it spreads rapidly. Moreover, the epidemic problem causes less social problems and economic loss. On the other side, the pandemic disease causes great economic loss and social disruption.

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An epidemic problem takes place frequently, but it is not getting famous or not known by many people due to its limited spread in a specific geographical area. On the flip side, a pandemic disease does not take place frequently, and when it occurs, it gets famous everywhere due to its worldwide spread. The examples of epidemic diseases are Spanish flu of 1918, the measles from 1981 to 1991, and whooping cough in 2014. On the other hand, the examples of pandemic diseases are the flu of 1968, the HIV or AIDS pandemic, the bubonic plague, and the COVID-19.

Comparison Chart

EpidemicPandemic
The occurrence of a disease that ranges over a large geographical area is known as an epidemic.An outbreak of a disease that ranges over the whole country or the world is known as a pandemic.
Etymology
In this word, ‘epi’ means ‘later’ while the word ‘demic’ is derived from the Greek word ‘dêmos,’ which stands for “people of a district.”The word ‘pandemic’ is originated from the Greek word ‘pándēmos,’ which means “common or public.”
Area Covered
An epidemic disease covers a large geographical area.A pandemic disease covers a whole country or the whole world.
Use of Word
The word epidemic is used when the disease is in a specific large geographical area.A disease becomes pandemic when it spread to different countries or the whole world through travelers etc.
Number of Infected People
An epidemic problem infects less number of people.A pandemic disease affects a very large number of people worldwide.
Number of Deaths
This type of disease causes fewer deaths.This disease causes more deaths.
Source
This problem may or may not be the result of a new virus or strain.This problem mostly evolved due to a new strain of the virus that was not present in the world for a long time.
Losses
This problem causes less social problems and economic loss.This problem causes great economic loss and social disruption.
Frequency
An epidemic disease takes place frequently.It does not take place frequently.
Examples
Its examples are Spanish flu of 1918, the measles from 1981 to 1991, and whooping cough in 2014.Its examples are the flu of 1968, the HIV or AIDS pandemic, the bubonic plague, and the COVID-19.
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What is the Epidemic?

The epidemic is an outbreak of a disease that spreads over a large geographical area. In this word ‘epidemic, ‘epi’ means ‘later’ while the word ‘demic’ is derived from a Greek word ‘dêmos,’ which stands for “people of a district.” It has many broader meanings, for example, “contagious,” “excessively prevalent,” or “known by very extensive growth or extent.”

So, the word epidemic is used when the disease is in a specific large geographical area. It infects less number of people due to its spread in a limited area and therefore, causes less number of deaths. An epidemic disease may or may not be the result of a new virus or strain. It takes place more frequently but, it is not getting famous or not known by many people due to its limited spread in a specific geographical area.

Examples

  • Spanish flu of 1918
  • The measles from 1981 to 1991
  • Whooping cough in 2014
  • Zika virus spread in 2016 and 2017 in tropical areas. It causes microcephaly, i.e., a birth defect in pregnant women
  • Ebola outbreak that takes place from 2014 to 2016 in West Africa
  • The severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS virus invaded Asia in 2003, and it also belongs to the coronavirus family of diseases

What is Pandemic?

Pandemic is an outbreak of a disease that spreads over the whole country or the world. This word ‘pandemic’ is derived from the Greek word ‘pándēmos,’ which means “common or public.” So, the word pandemic is used when the disease spreads to different countries or the whole world through travelers, etc.

A pandemic disease affects a very large number of people worldwide. So, it causes more deaths. This problem mostly arises from a new virus or strain that was not present in the world for a long time. Therefore, people have less immunity against it. Thus, it spreads quickly. This problem causes great economic loss and social disruption.

The pandemic attack does not take place frequently. But whenever it happens, it disturbs the large area of the world and gets familiar easily. If it proclaims anywhere, it causes all the global and national public health agencies to react against the condition at a higher level. For example, WHO or world health organization has announced a six-phase plan to understand the situation of the flu pandemic and to work according to it.

Phases of Pandemic

  • Phase 1: A period when there is no animal virus found to spread infection in humans.
  • Phase 2: This phase is known as the first level of threat when a virus transfers from an animal to a human.
  • Phase 3: A phase when a small group of people has affected, but there is no case due to human transmission.
  • Phase 4: A phase with an affected community due to animal to human or human to human transmission.
  • Phase 5: The phase when the outbreak has transferred into at least two countries due to human transmission.
  • Phase 6: It is the phase when the disease has spread to one other country and announced as a pandemic.

Examples

  • The flu of 1968
  • The HIV or AIDS pandemic
  • The bubonic plague
  • The COVID-19

Key Differences

  1. An outbreak of a disease that ranges over a large geographical area is known as an epidemic, whereas an outbreak of a disease that ranges over the whole country or the world is known as a pandemic.
  2. In the word ‘epidemic, ‘epi’ means ‘later’ while the word ‘demic’ is derived from a Greek word ‘dêmos,’ which stands for “people of a district.” On the other hand, the word ‘pandemic’ is derived from the Greek word ‘pándēmos,’ which means “common or public.”
  3. An epidemic disease covers a large geographical area. Conversely, a pandemic disease covers a whole country or the whole world.
  4. The word epidemic can be used when the disease is in a specific large geographical area. On the flip side, a disease becomes pandemic when it spread to different countries or the whole world through travelers, etc.
  5. An epidemic problem infects less number of people. On the other side, a pandemic disease affects a very large number of people worldwide.
  6. An epidemic disease causes fewer deaths, while a pandemic disease causes more deaths.
  7. The epidemic problem may or may not be the result of a new virus or strain. On the other hand, the pandemic problem mostly caused by a new virus or strain that was not present in the world for a long time.
  8. An epidemic disease causes less social problems and economic loss, whereas the pandemic problem causes great economic loss and social disruption.
  9. An epidemic disease takes place frequently, but it is not getting famous due to its limited spread. On the other side, a pandemic disease does not take place frequently, and when it occurs, it gets famous everywhere due to its worldwide spread.
  10. The examples of the epidemic disease are the measles from 1981 to 1991, Spanish flu of 1918, and whooping cough in 2014. On the flip side, the examples of pandemic diseases are the flu of 1968, the HIV or AIDS pandemic, the bubonic plague, and the COVID-19.

Comparison Video

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Conclusion

The above discussion summarizes that the epidemic is a disease outbreak in a large geographical area that causes less affected people and economic loss. On the flip side, a pandemic attack is an outbreak of a disease in a large number of countries or worldwide. It infects a large number of people and causes great economic loss.

Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White