Epidemic vs Endemic: Difference and Comparison

Epidemic and Endemic are words used to describe how certain diseases affect people in a particular area or region.

In the medical sense, the disease is termed an ‘epidemic’ when it affects many people within a particular population, community, or region.

An epidemic is a disease that keeps on actively spreading from person to person, though just in a particular area, but infecting more people than usual.

Key Takeaways

  1. Epidemics involve a sudden increase in disease cases; endemics are diseases constantly present in a population
  2. Epidemics are short-lived; endemics can persist indefinitely
  3. Epidemics require urgent intervention; endemic diseases may need ongoing control measures.

Epidemic vs. Endemic

The difference between an epidemic and endemic is that the term epidemic is not only used with regard to fast-spreading diseases but also to mention anything that is rising upon the people and is a risk to their health. In contrast, endemic is preferably used to indicate a constant disease level present within each society.

Epidemic vs Endemic


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonEpidemicEndemic
MeaningA disease is termed an epidemic when it is infectious and widespread in a community at a given particular time.The disease is known to be endemic to a particular region when it is found among people living in that area, irrespective of the given time.
Rate of infectionAn epidemic spreads faster than expected and has many people infected within a short period, and the rate keeps increasing.As endemic diseases are found in a particular region, the spread is slower than other diseases, and the rate remains almost constant.
Area of damageAs an infectious disease, it spreads fast, is not restricted to a specific community or area, and has comprehensive area coverage in less time.Endemics are prevalent in a specific population and are always prone to it. Hence the area of infection is clear and not that alarming.
Turns intoAn epidemic is restricted to a particular state or nation, but its widespread may turn it into a pandemic affecting people across the globe, causing an outbreak.An endemic remains restricted to its original area and has a constant presence in the same place and community, seldom having a chance of becoming an epidemic.
ExamplesThe COVID-19 disease caused due to coronavirus was restricted to Wuhan, China, and hence was an epidemic until it spread across the globe, making it a pandemic.Diseases like malaria are endemic to African regions, Dengue in Malaysia, Tuberculosis, chickenpox, etc.,


What is Epidemic?

An epidemic is when there is a rise in the cases of diseases, injuries, or other health issues in a given area within a short period.

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In terms of disease, it is the rapid spreading of disease from person to person at a rate more than the usual expected rate and sometimes is also known as an ‘outbreak’ of the disease.

An epidemic starts within a community and area and, in the worse case, may spread to an entire nation, but if it applies to much more space, i.e., at a global level, then it is termed a ‘pandemic.’

Epidemics could start with infections from infected food, contaminated water, and certain animals, like rats and mosquitos, that act as vectors.


What is Endemic?

The literal meaning of the word ‘endemic’ is restricted or peculiar to a particular locality or belongs to a specific community of people.

When that particular disease remains restricted to that region, it is endemic to that region, but if the cases rise unexpectedly, it may become an epidemic.

For example, Chickenpox is endemic to the United Kingdom as a fixed number of people get infected every year, while malaria is not endemic to the UK.

When an endemic disease infects people, it infects persons and then keeps on transmitting from the infected person, but the number of people infected does not increase exponentially.

Therefore, endemic stays within a particular region and infects that specific area and does not die out but has a constant presence in that community.


Difference Between X and Y 2023 04 07T094435.555
  1. https://parasitesandvectors.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1756-3305-4-197

Last Updated : 14 October, 2023

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21 thoughts on “Epidemic vs Endemic: Difference and Comparison”

  1. I found the differences explained here very useful. I wasn’t aware of the differences between epidemic and endemic diseases.


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