What is an epidemic?

December 19, 2014
What is an epidemic?

The epidemic comes from the Greek words "epi" - on, among and "demos" - the people. In general, an epidemic is the spread of a disease among a group of people in a certain area.

Let's take a closer look at what an epidemic is.

Use of the concept

Initially, the word was used only in the literal sense and meant the emergence of the disease among a large number of people (for example, an epidemic of plague, flu, or typhoid). In modern language, the concept is given a somewhat figurative meaning, and, speaking of the epidemic of tourism, a person means that it has become fashionable for people to travel around different countries to rest and get acquainted with the life of another people.

How are epidemics

Epidemic status is usually acquired by the case if more than 5% of the population visits doctors in the region. The branch of medicine that studies epidemics, as well as methods of control and prevention, is called epidemiology. Today it is known that a combination of 3 factors (conditions) is important for the occurrence of an epidemic:

  • the presence of an infectious (non-infectious) disease pathogen;
  • the presence of a transfer mechanism;
  • the presence of organisms susceptible to the pathogen (people, animals, plants).

The spread of epidemics is influenced by both the natural conditions in the region and social factors (living conditions of the community, community well-being, the state of medicine and others).

Mechanisms of transmission

Modern epidemiology identifies such methods of transmission of the disease from the body to the body:

  • airborne - when mainly the pathogen enters the body through the respiratory system;
  • fecal-oral - the infection penetrates through the mouth (for example, when swallowing food or water) and is localized in the intestine; is excreted through vomit and feces.
  • contact - infectious agents are localized on the skin;
  • transmissible - infection occurs not directly upon contact with an infected, but through insects or animals:
  • hemocontact - infection through injections, etc .;
  • vertical - from mother to child.

Read more about how the disease spreads in the section of our website. Mechanisms and transmission routes.

Types of epidemics

Depending on the number of infected is allocated:

  1. Endemia - the local spread of the disease within a small region.
  2. Epidemic - has larger foci, sometimes going beyond one country.
  3. Pandemic - large-scale infection, covering countries, continents, and even the entire globe.

When dealing with any kind of infection, regardless of the method of transmission, it is important to prevent morbidity.

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