Meaning of Pandemic, Epidemic and Endemic

With the rise of Cornonavirus cases around the world, the World Health Organization has declared coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic. Often people want to know the meaning of pandemic and how it is different from epidemic. There is another similar term endemic and all these together create a bit of confusion. Let’s see what these words actually mean.

Meaning of Epidemic

The term epidemic is used for referring to an outbreak of a disease or infection that affects a lot of people in a particular area at the same time and this infection may spread from one community to another. Rate of infection continuously increases in case of an epidemic. For example, H1N1, black plague etc.

Meaning of Pandemic

A pandemic is an epidemic with world-wide-spread of infection. For example, WHO, declared 2019-20 coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic on 11 March 2019. WHO said:

WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction. We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.

At the time of WHO declaration, coronavirus cases were reported from more than 100 countries.

infection epidemic pandemic endemic

Meaning of Endemic

When a disease is termed as endemic when it exists permanently in a specific area and consistently keep causing infection in people. The rate of infection remains more or less constant when a disease is endemic. Examples of endemic diseases are malaria, tuberculosis and chickenpox etc.