What is epidemic?
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What Does epidemic Mean
An epidemic is a disease that spreads over a certain period of time in a certain geographical area and affects many people simultaneously. It is a notion used by community health to refer to the fact that the disease reaches a greater number of people than expected .
This implies the existence of incidence levels that are considered normal for a disease. A certain number of affected, therefore, is expected by the specialists for a given moment. When the number of patients exceeds that average, we speak of an epidemic (there are a greater number of cases compared to the expected cases).
The scientific discipline that is responsible for the analysis of epidemics is known as epidemiology . Epidemiologists study the distribution, frequency, and determinants of disease-related factors in a human community. Epidemiology, therefore, combines notions from medicine with principles from the social sciences to help control disease and predict possible epidemiological outbreaks.
When the epidemic spreads across several countries, it becomes a pandemic . The etymological origin of this word means "disease of the whole people . " The pandemic usually occurs before the appearance of a new virus (for which there is no type of immunity).
On the other hand, when the epidemic remains in the same area for a long period of time, it becomes an endemic . This is the case with malaria in several African countries.
Pandemics throughout history
Throughout history, many tragedies have occurred as a result of the poor organization of societies . Without going any further, in the last 200 years, millions of people have died due to different plagues that have not been able to be controlled in time. Among the five most important epidemics of these years are:
* The plague of the Peloponnesian War : it took place in Athens in 430 BC and claimed the lives of around 30 thousand inhabitants. It was the First Pandemic of which there was a record.
* The Antonine plague : it was spread through a group of Roman soldiers in this town in 165 AD. Around 5 thousand people died, among whom was the emperor Marcus Aurelius. Subsequently, the number increased to 5 million, when it became the great Smallpox Pandemic that hit this country.
* The Plague of Justinian : it was the first great expansion of bubonic plague and took place between 541 and 542 AD among the inhabitants of Constantinople. It took the lives of more than 10,000 people. Today it is estimated that the bubonic plague over the years has killed a total of 200 million people.
* The Black Death : it is believed that it was transmitted by nomadic merchants from India to many countries. It took place in the 14th century and killed 25 million people (a quarter of the world's population).
* The Spanish Flu : it consisted of a rare version of the Influenza virus . It was known as "La Cucaracha", it took place in 1918 (at the end of the First World War ) and was suffered by 1000 million people throughout the globe.
Finally, it is important to point out that the governments of the different countries fear to give the warning signal before these catastrophes for fear of alarming the population . However, this measure only contributes to making these situations more risky, since people (because they are uninformed) do not act preventively .