What is the Difference Between Pandemic and Epidemic

Posted on May 24th, 2021
Difference between Pandemic and Epidemic
Pandemic and Epidemic

Difference Between Pandemic and Epidemic

What is a Pandemic?

A pandemic is a sort of epidemic that is geographically widespread and depicts a disease that affects the whole nation or the whole world. When an epidemic spreads across wide geographical areas and impacts a large percentage of the population, is called a pandemic.

In a nutshell, a pandemic is an epidemic that occurs on a national or worldwide scale.

Examples of past pandemics are:

  • i. flu pandemic
  • ii. HIV/AIDS pandemic
  • iii. bubonic plague


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What is an Epidemic?

An epidemic is a disease outbreak that spreads swiftly and affects a large number of individuals at the same time. An epidemic occurs when there is a sudden increase in the number of instances of a disease, such as COVID-19. It often relates to an unanticipated increase. An outbreak might occur in a single community, geographical area, or throughout many countries.

The term “Epidemic” is frequently used to describe any condition that has emerged out of control. The disease spreads actively during an epidemic.

Examples of past epidemics are:

  • i. Spanish flu
  • ii. Measles outbreak
  • iii. Whopping cough

Pandemic: Phases

The World Health Organization’s pandemic alert system begins from Phase 1 (low risk) to Phase 6 (very high risk):

Phase I: No human infections have been reported as a result of an animal virus.

Phase II: Humans have been infected by an animal virus.

Phase III: In humans, there are isolated cases or small clusters of disease. If the illness spreads from human to human, it is not widespread enough to produce community-wide epidemics.

Phase IV: The disease is spreading from human to human with community-wide outbreaks verified.

Phase V: The disease is spreading from human to human in more than one nation within one of the WHO regions.

Phase VI: At least one more country, in addition to the region from Phase 5, has community-level outbreaks.


Pandemic: Preparation

Because so many people are ill or unable to work, a pandemic results in economic and social problems.

Here are a few things you can do that can help your family and your community to prepare for and respond to a pandemic:

  • i. Prepare an emergency contact list.
  • ii. In case you require any information, find local aid organizations, support, or health services.
  • iii. Request your employer to work from home, if possible.
  • iv. In case schools are closed, plan home learning activities.
  • v. Store extra food, medicine, water, and supplies.
  • vi. Stay as healthy as you can by having rest, managing stress, eating right, and exercising regularly.


Prevention: Slowdown of Pandemic Disease spread

During an outbreak, epidemic, or pandemic, there is no definite means to prevent disease propagation. It might take a long time for scientists to develop a vaccine. However, it is now easier to make specific vaccines in a shorter period of time than it was some years ago. When a vaccine is available, people and groups that are more likely to become ill will be the first to receive it.

In the meanwhile, you can take the following precautions to maintain your health:

  • i. Wash your hands with soap and water on a regular basis. If that isn’t possible, use an alcohol-based hand cleanser or gel sanitizer. Apply it on your hands until they are completely dry.
  • ii. Don’t touch your body parts i.e. eyes, nose, and mouth, without washing your hands.
  • iii. When you cough or sneeze, use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose. Throw the tissue in the dustbin and wash your hands again.
  • iv. Avoid crowded places. Stay home as much as possible.
  • v. On a regular basis, clean and disinfect household surfaces.




Difference between Pandemic and Epidemic

S. No Pandemic Epidemic
     I. It is a disease outbreak that spreads across the globe within a very short period. It is a disease outbreak that spreads fast over the community, state and country.
    II. The spread of infection and the scale of impact is relatively vast as it can affect the entire world’s population. The spread of infection and the scale of impact is not similar to the pandemic as it is limited to the geographical bounds of a community, country or continent.
    III. Pandemic is caused by the new strain of pathogen. Epidemic is caused by pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and other harmful parasites.
    IV. It disrupts the social and economic balance and its impact is very large. The impact of epidemic is not vast as that of a pandemic.
    V. Immunity level in the people against pandemic is relatively low. Immunity level in the people against an epidemic is relatively high.
   VI. Due to the global spread, the death toll is very high. In case of epidemic, the death toll is relatively less.
  VII. Certain examples of pandemic are HIV AIDS, COVID-19. Certain examples of epidemic are typhoid, malaria, whooping cough, etc.


Some important FAQs


What is meant by an Epidemic?

It is a disease outbreak that spreads rapidly within a community. Generally, harmful pathogens such as bacteria, viruses are the main spreaders of an epidemic. However, when an epidemic becomes uncontrollable, it turns into a pandemic.


What is meant by Pandemic?

It is a disease outbreak, wherein an infectious disease spread rapidly across the globe within a short span of time. Since it is a global phenomenon, the number of people affected by it is significant.


Mention the difference between Pandemic and Epidemic

The main difference between the Pandemic and Epidemic is the death toll and their scale of spread. The Pandemic is a global phenomenon and is caused by a new strain of a virus, whereas an epidemic is limited to a community, a country or a continent.



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