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Epidemic is used, generally, to refer to the spread of pathogens in a population. Demos is greek for 'upon the population' and as such is technically able to be (and is in scientific literature) used instead of the needlessly more complicated epizootic or epiphytotic. Epidemiologists can refer to those who study epidemics in humans, plants and animals. I'm forwarding the idea that this whole page needs a re-write in terms of epidemics as it is generally used with sections for humans, animals and plants. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:51, 30 July 2010 (UTC)


I do not know what epidemic

Please somebody add what causes epidemics to spread. -Thanks

non-biological is not accurate - should be "other" biological uses.[edit]

When you mention "non-biological" uses, I think you mean "non-infectious-disease". Surely everyone agrees that obesity, drug addiction, and mental illness are biological! I would suggest changing this to read "other" uses.

Perhaps a true non-biological "epidemic" would be something like a video game or clothing fashion? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:46, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

Death of people?!?[edit]

What does the line "Epidemics lead to death of people" in the non-biological section mean? It's completely inappropriate and out of the blue! Well, that's my opinion anyway. -- 05:25, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Add some more links[edit]

I introduced more text. Please make internal links at important words on the text. KVDP (talk) 18:45, 7 February 2008 (UTC)


There is a call to merge Pandemic#Pandemics and notable epidemics through history (which is a full description) into Epidemic#Notable epidemics through history (which is a stub-and-pointer).

I disagree, don't merge, even at the price of duplication. This section contributes valuable information to anyone looking up Pandemics, which is probably millions of people about now. Jdonovan43 (talk) 23:45, 29 April 2009 (UTC)


Perhaps healthmap ( ) should be mentioned as a pre-emptive measure ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:32, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

“Pre-emptive measures” ¿Such As?[edit]

The link included only references a PDF entitled “Report of the WHO/FAO/OIE joint consultation on emerging zoonotic diseases.” It doesn’t tell us anything about what WHO nor anyone else is doing to pre-empt new epidemics. (It’s not that I doubt they are doing something, but some clue as to what would help.) (talk) 16:29, 7 October 2010 (UTC)A REDDSON

Health crisis[edit]

Las crisis sanitarias no tienen porque ser necesariamente una epidemia o una pandemia, pueden originarlas también desastres de origen humano o natural. Las crisis sanitarias pueden proceder de alimentos, de infecciones, o problemas medioambientales; siempre suponiendo que estemos en tiempos de paz. Las actuaciones para resolverlas son múltiples: médicas, económicas, políticas, etc. Pueden afectar a una localidad concreta, a una región, a un país, a un continente o a todo el planeta. Por todo ello, crisis sanitaria (Health crisis) no corresponde con epidemia (epidemic) y debe ser un artículo independiente. Un cordial saludo:Raimundo Pastor (talk) 15:18, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

Well, I'm not sure that's what the sources you're using say... and epidemic need not be just a disease. They are functionally the same... and if "health crisis" is anything that endangers human life or well being, as you say, then that's just a crisis or disaster. While you may find sources that use any number of different terms, if they all address the same concept they should be in a single article. Both the new health crisis article and the epidemic article are small underdeveloped articles. Both could be merged into a much more useful, elaborate article. There are lots of catchphrase concepts that get thrown around by various fields... business students are notorious for this kind of terminology swamp. When, however, they address the same functional concept they should be merged.
This would all be much easier too if the health crisis definition was defined outright. From my estimation the sources merely use the term and concept. They aren't about the term or concept. That makes it difficult to really see the difference, if there is any, between the two. But perhaps I missed something. If so, please point that out. Shadowjams (talk) 21:13, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
Concept Health crisis Epidemic
Source disease, disaster, war, Food, Drug, etc only disease
Transmission yes / not yes (infectious disease)
Prevention Medical, Politic, Social, Ecologic, Military, Economic, etc Medical (only)
Diagnosis Medical, Economic, Politic, Social, Ecologic, etc Medical (only)
Treatment Medical + Social + Economic + Politic, etc medical treatment (mainly)
List List of disasters, List of epidemics, Food safety scandals, List of medicine contamination incidents, etc List of epidemics

Friendly:Raimundo Pastor (talk) 22:31, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

Random all-caps words?[edit]

The main paragraph in the Causes section has the names of certain diseases in capital letters, for no apparent reason. Unless this is usually for disease names (which I'm fairly sure it isn't), then my only guess is that it's vandalism or was an inexperienced editor's attempt to create links. Does anyone object to me replacing them with non-caps words and making some of them into links? (talk) 06:19, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

West Nile is capitalized because it's the name of a river. Disease names with proper nouns are capitalized (St. Louis encephalitis, Weil disease) but the eponymic form is discouraged now (Weil's disease). JuanTamad (talk) 00:01, 11 September 2016 (UTC)

Lede sentence (and much of the article) over-emphasizes rapidity, scope, and infectious disease[edit]

As ref #1 (the CDC text on Fundamentals of Epidemiology) and other sources note, epidemics need neither involve large numbers of people, be rapid, nor even be transmissible - yet those are the clear messages in the lead. Any increase (sudden or not) of any disease (communicable or not) above its baseline incidence (high or low) in a population is considered an epidemic. A subsequent section does note that the epidemic might be something non-transmissible like obesity, and the last sentence of the lead does acknowledge that high rates are not a requirement for "epidemic" status, but the lead sentence should not be so restrictive - it's all many readers will see. I am reluctant to boldly change that lead sentence without discussion, because (i) it might not be understood by active editors here, and (ii) a major change in the focus of the article is the subtext - the second paragraph, for example, might be out of place if the focus weren't so squarely on communicable disease. — soupvector (talk) 23:54, 10 September 2016 (UTC)

Agree that the first sentence could be better written, but the use of the term in infectious disease is original and well defined, with specific definitions. There should be brief mention of use of the term in non-infectious diseases like obesity but note that it's use in that sense is less formal. I think, sort of borrowed from infectious disease. JuanTamad (talk) 00:11, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
If one refers to the glossary of (freely-available) ref #1 (as cited currently, it's the CDC's Fundamentals of Epidemiology text), it defines: "epidemic the occurrence of more cases of disease, injury, or other health condition than expected in a given area or among a specific group of persons during a particular period. Usually, the cases are presumed to have a common cause or to be related to one another in some way (see also outbreak)." The Introduction of that text, on page 1-73, uses language we could consider: "The previous description of epidemics presumes only infectious agents, but non-infectious diseases such as diabetes and obesity exist in epidemic proportion in the U.S."soupvector (talk) 02:02, 11 September 2016 (UTC)

definition too specific? not all epidemics involve infectious disease, such as the obesity epidemic[edit]

I was searching for a information about what defines an obesity epidemic and ended up here. The definition here seems to imply an epidemic must be the rapid spread of an infectious disease. But since obesity is not infectious, perhaps a broader definition would be more appropriate. How about making the definition closer to the Merriam-Webster definition; something like: "An epidemic is a disease or medical disorder that affects a large proportion of a population at a particular time." Following that, it could be mentioned that epidemics typically involve the rapid spread of an infectious disease, etc. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:35, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

See my comments in previous section (immediately above). Agree this should be addressed. — soupvector (talk) 18:54, 9 May 2017 (UTC)