The Home Minister, Hamzah Zainuddin was also quoted as saying that ‘all parties should play a role together by making the practice of complying with SOPs normal, let alone when the COVID-19 outbreak is announced as‘ endemic ’later. (BERNAMA, 05/09/2021)
Before, we used to listen and read about 'pandemic' and now it is 'endemic'. When referring again there are several other terms that we need to know.
Not all infectious disease terms are created equal, although they are often misused interchangeably.
The distinction between the words “pandemic”, “epidemic”, and “endemic” is always blurred, even by physicians.
This is because the definition of each term is fluid and changes as the disease becomes more prevalent over time.
While conversational use of these words may not require an exact definition, knowing the differences is important to help you better understand public health news and public health responses.
Let's start with the basic definition:
• Epidemic is a disease that affects a large number of people in a community, population, or region.
• Pandemic is an epidemic that spreads in various countries or continents.
• Endemic is an epidemic that is infected by a particular person or country.
• Outbreak is an increase in the number of cases of endemic epidemic diseases that is greater than expected. It could also be a case in a new area. If not controlled quickly, outbreaks can become epidemic.
Epidemics and Pandemics
An easy way to tell the difference between an epidemic and a pandemic is to remember the “P” in a pandemic, which means the pandemic has a passport. A pandemic is a contagious epidemic.
Epidemic and Endemic
But what is the difference between an epidemic and an endemic epidemic?
Epidemics are actively spreading; new cases of the disease far exceed expectations. More broadly, it is used to describe an uncontrollable problem, such as an "opioid epidemic."
Epidemics are often localized to a region, but the number of those infected in that region is much higher than usual.
For example, when COVID-19 was limited to Wuhan, China, it was an epidemic. The spread of geography has made it a pandemic.
Endemic, on the other hand, is a persistent presence in a particular location.
Malaria is endemic in parts of Africa. Icebergs are endemic to Antarctica.
Endemic and Outbreak
Going one step further, endemics can cause outbreaks (outbreaks of epidemics), and outbreaks can occur anywhere.
The outbreak of dengue fever last summer in Hawaii is an example.
Dengue fever is endemic in certain areas of Africa, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
Mosquitoes in this area carry dengue fever and spread it from person to person.
But in 2019 there was an outbreak of dengue fever in Hawaii, where the disease is not endemic.
It is believed the infected person visited the Big Island and was bitten by mosquitoes there.
Mosquito insects then transmit the disease to other individuals they bite, which causes an outbreak.
You can see why it is so easy to confuse this term.
They are all interconnected with each other and there is a natural recession and flow between them when treatment is available and measures for control are in place - or when the onset of illness and disease begins to spread.