Dictionary.com Word FAQs
What is the difference between an outbreak, epidemic, and a pandemic?
An epidemic is a disease that affects many people at the same time, such as the flu. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's official definition of epidemic is: 'The occurrence of more cases of disease than expected in a given area or among a specific group of people over a particular period of time'. A pandemic is a very extensive epidemic, like a plague, that is prevalent in a country, continent, or the world. There is also the word endemic, which is a disease native to a people or region, which is regularly or constantly found among a people or specific region. The term outbreak describes the sudden rise in the incidence of a disease, especially a harmful one. An outbreak is characterized by a disease's bypassing of measures to control it. Often, the difference between these terms is determined by the percentage of deaths caused by the disease.