Difference Between Epidemic and Endemic

Epidemic and Endemic are two words that are often used to refer to the extent to which certain diseases affect people in a particular area or region.

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In the medical sense, the disease is termed to be an ‘epidemic’ when it affects a large number of 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 a larger number of people than usual.

Epidemic vs Endemic

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

Epidemic vs Endemic

 

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonEpidemicEndemic
MeaningA disease is termed to be an epidemic when it is infectious and is widespread in a community of people at a given particular time.The disease is known to be endemic to a particular region when it is generally found among people living in that area, irrespective of the given time.
Rate of infectionAn epidemic spreads at a faster rate than expected and has many people infected within a short period and the rate keeps on increasing.As endemic diseases are found in a certain region, the spread is normally at a slower rate as compared to other diseases and the rate almost remains constant.
Area of damageAs it is an infectious disease it spreads fast and is not restricted to a certain community or area and has wide area coverage in less time.Endemics are usually prevalent in a certain population and they are always prone to it, hence the area of infection is certain and not that alarming.
Turns intoAn epidemic is usually restricted to a certain state or nation, but its widespread may turn it into a pandemic affecting people across the globe causing an outbreak.An endemic usually remains restricted to their original area and has a constant presence in the same area and community, seldom having chances of it turning into 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 regions in Africa, Dengue in Malaysia, Tuberculosis, chickenpox, etc,.

 

What is Epidemic?

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

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

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

epidemic
 

What is Endemic?

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

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

For example, Chickenpox is endemic to the United Kingdom as a fixed number of people get infected by it, 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, an endemic stays within a particular region and infects that particular area, and does not die out, but has a constant presence in that community.

endemic

Main Differences Between Epidemic and Endemic

  1. The disease is known to be an epidemic if it affects a large number of people within a short period, while an endemic disease has a constant presence in a particular region.
  2. The main difference between an epidemic and endemic is that an epidemic is found ‘among’ a particular community or region, while an endemic is found ‘within’ a particular community.

References

  1. https://parasitesandvectors.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1756-3305-4-197
  2. https://staging.mja.com.au/system/files/issues/196_03_200212/mci11120_fm.pdf
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