A epidemic is a disease that spreads over a certain period of weather in a given geographical area that affects many people simultaneously. It is a notion used by community health to refer to the fact that the disease reaches a number of people higher than expected .
This implies the existence of incidence levels that are considered normal for a disease A certain number of those affected, therefore, is expected by specialists for a given time. When the number of patients exceeds that mean, they talk about 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 are dedicated to studying the distribution, frequency and determinants of disease-related factors in a human community. Epidemiology, therefore, combines notions of medicine with principles of social Sciences to help control diseases and predict possible epidemiological outbreaks.
When the epidemic expands in several countries, it becomes a pandemic . The etymological origin of this word means "Sickness of all the people" . The pandemic usually occurs before the appearance of a new virus (for which there is no immunity).
On the other hand, when the epidemic remains in the same area for a prolonged period of time it becomes a endemic . This is the case of the malaria in several African countries.
Pandemics throughout history
Throughout history they have taken place many tragedies as a result of the bad organization of societies. Without going any further, in the last 200 years, millions of people have died due to different pests that could not 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 B.C. and claimed the lives of around 30 thousand inhabitants. Was the First Pandemic of which there was registration.
* The Antonine plague: It was expanded through a group of Roman soldiers in this town in AD 165. About 5 thousand people died, among which was Emperor Marco Aurelio. Subsequently, the number increased to 5 million, becoming the great Smallpox Pandemic That hit this country.
* The Justinian Plague: It was the first major expansion of bubonic plague and took place between 541 and 542 A.D. among the inhabitants of Constantinople. He claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people. Today it is estimated that bubonic plague over the years has killed a total of 200 million people.
* The Black Plague: it is believed that it was transmitted by nomadic merchants from India to many countries. It took place in the fourteenth 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 became known as "La Cucaracha", it took place in 1918 (at end world war one) and was suffered by 1000 million people throughout the globe.
It is important to note to conclude that the governments of the different countries are afraid to give the warning signal to these catastrophes for fear of alarm the population. However, this measure only helps to make these situations more risky, since people (because they are uninformed) do not act preventively.