[Answered] What does a pandemic mean? How is it different from the terms ‘epidemic’ and ‘endemic’? Illustrate with example.


Demand of the question

Introduction. What is pandemic?

Body. Discuss how it is different from epidemic and endemic with examples.

Conclusion. Way forward.


Pandemic refers to an epidemic that has spread across countries and continents- the worldwide spread of a new disease. However, some epidemiologists classify a situation as a pandemic only once the disease is sustained in some of the newly affected regions through local transmission.


How is it different from epidemic and endemic?

According to WHO, an epidemic is the regional outbreak of an illness that spreads unexpectedly.Once an epidemic spreads to multiple countries or regions of the world, it is considered a pandemic.The term endemic refers to the constant presence and/or usual prevalence of a disease or infectious agent in a population within a particular geographic area.
It is an outbreak of a new pathogen that spreads over a period of time.It is an outbreak of a new pathogen that spreads easily from person to person across the globe that spread spontaneously.Epidemics can be transmitted through person-to-person contact, animal-to-person contact, or from the environment.
These diseases are present in a region and are not population specific.These diseases are present all over the world in all populations.These diseases are present in a set population of people or geographic region of the world
For instance, widespread cases of COVID-19 across China meant that the Wuhan outbreak had grown to an epidemic.For example, COVID-19 is spread worldwide and is unstoppable and uncontainable making it a pandemic.For example, 2017 Gorakhpur Japanese encephalitis outbreak in India.


Preventive Measures:

  1. Collaboration: To make the world safer, global health security depends crucially on much greater awareness, cooperation and collaboration between individual countries, agencies, organizations and communities. The continuing scientific uncertainty around disease emergence requires even more collaboration and global awareness than has previously existed, not least to improve early detection.
  2. Strengthening health systems: In order to mitigate the impact of epidemics, protect the health workforce and ensure continuity of health services during and after them, stronger health systems are needed.
  3. Investment: Long-term substantial investments should be made to strengthen health systems so they are able to provide safe, effective and qualitative health services before, during and after epidemics.
  4. Community engagement: Communities are the frontline in detecting and managing epidemics. They can detect outbreaks, and help in containment to prevent epidemic amplification.
  5. Sensitisation: We need to sensitise healthcare providers to ensure they act in a non-discriminatory manner.
  6. Literacy: We must provide both treatment and legal literacy to people, so that they understand their rights and can speak up if these are violated.
  7. R&D: It is important to invest more in R&D to come up with new drug regimens for responding to the spread of new diseases.


The epidemics in the 21st century are spreading faster and further than ever. Outbreaks that were previously localized can now become global very rapidly. An individual flying from one side of the world can introduce a new disease into the other, within hours, and before even showing symptoms. Thus, preventive measures must be put in place.

Print Friendly and PDF