Epidemy vs. Epidemic - What's the difference?

Wikipedia

  • Epidemic

    An epidemic (from Greek ἐπί epi "upon or above" and δῆμος demos "people") is the rapid spread of infectious disease to a large number of people in a given population within a short period of time, usually two weeks or less. For example, in meningococcal infections, an attack rate in excess of 15 cases per 100,000 people for two consecutive weeks is considered an epidemic.Epidemics of infectious disease are generally caused by several factors including a change in the ecology of the host population (e.g. increased stress or increase in the density of a vector species), a genetic change in the pathogen reservoir or the introduction of an emerging pathogen to a host population (by movement of pathogen or host). Generally, an epidemic occurs when host immunity to either an established pathogen or newly emerging novel pathogen is suddenly reduced below that found in the endemic equilibrium and the transmission threshold is exceeded.An epidemic may be restricted to one location; however, if it spreads to other countries or continents and affects a substantial number of people, it may be termed a pandemic. The declaration of an epidemic usually requires a good understanding of a baseline rate of incidence; epidemics for certain diseases, such as influenza, are defined as reaching some defined increase in incidence above this baseline. A few cases of a very rare disease may be classified as an epidemic, while many cases of a common disease (such as the common cold) would not.

Wiktionary

  • Epidemy (noun)

    An epidemic disease

  • Epidemic (noun)

    A widespread disease that affects many individuals in a population.

  • Epidemic (noun)

    An occurrence of a disease or disorder in a population at a frequency higher than that expected in a given time period.

  • Epidemic (adjective)

    Like or having to do with an epidemic; widespread

    "Epidemic hysteria occurred upon the incumbent’s reelection."

Oxford Dictionary

  • Epidemic (noun)

    a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time

    "a flu epidemic"

  • Epidemic (noun)

    a sudden, widespread occurrence of an undesirable phenomenon

    "an epidemic of violent crime"

  • Epidemic (adjective)

    of the nature of an epidemic

    "shoplifting has reached epidemic proportions"

Webster Dictionary

  • Epidemy (noun)

    An epidemic disease.

  • Epidemic (adjective)

    Common to, or affecting at the same time, a large number in a community; - applied to a disease which, spreading widely, attacks many persons at the same time; as, an epidemic disease; an epidemic catarrh, fever, etc. See Endemic.

  • Epidemic (adjective)

    Spreading widely, or generally prevailing; affecting great numbers, as an epidemic does; as, epidemic rage; an epidemic evil.

  • Epidemic (noun)

    An epidemic disease.

  • Epidemic (noun)

    Anything which takes possession of the minds of people as an epidemic does of their bodies; as, an epidemic of terror.

Princeton's WordNet

  • Epidemic (noun)

    a widespread outbreak of an infectious disease; many people are infected at the same time

  • Epidemic (adjective)

    (especially of medicine) of disease or anything resembling a disease; attacking or affecting many individuals in a community or a population simultaneously;

    "an epidemic outbreak of influenza"

    "diseases endemic to the tropics"

    "endemic malaria"

    "food shortages and starvation are endemic in certain parts of the world"

Illustrations

Epidemy

Epidemic

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