With widespread diseases occurring more often, it is likely that you will find two words that might sound a lot alike but have two very different meanings. They have a basic quality that matches, but beyond that, the differences in the words pandemic and endemic are important to understand. If you understand what it means, it may help you understand whether your particular area is in danger of the disease that is occurring. These words are usually used in conjunction with widespread disease. It could really be anything such as poverty or hunger as well. They are both any condition that affects certain areas of the world.
An endemic is defined as “of or relating to a disease or anything resembling disease, constantly present to greater or lesser extent in a particular locality” according to Google’s definitions on the web. What this means to you is that it is a disease or other instance which has been in an area for a long period of time and doesn’t show any signs of clearing in the near future. It is a disease that is particular to a certain area of the world. For instance, Malaria is particular to Africa. It is always there. It doesn’t go away and there is not sign that it will disappear anytime in the near future.
A pandemic is defined as “Epidemic over a wide geographical area” according to Google’s definitions on the web. What this means to you is that it is possible that whatever the disease is, it could possibly reach you. It is a disease that spreads very quickly and is difficult to get under control again. A pandemic can spread from one place to another and continue moving, even so far as throughout the world.
An endemic is a more localized disease or condition that doesn’t spread beyond certain borders. The problem is that it can become a pandemic if someone carries it to other parts of the world. For instance, Swine Flu (H1N1), the virus that spread widely after several people visited a particular region that had the disease brought it back through the borders after visiting the region that had the swine flu. The swine flu pandemic started out as an endemic really. It only spread after someone, somewhere carried the disease to other locations. It was difficult to get under control and people panicked not knowing if they were in danger of getting the swine flu or if they were safe.
Knowing the difference in the words endemic and pandemic can make all the difference in how you react to the situation should you hear of one. Both words can save your life, literally. It is true that an endemic is more localized, if you are visiting a particular region, you are able to find out the information that you need to protect yourself from the disease before you travel. This also keeps it from becoming a pandemic. Either way, your life is much safer when you know the difference between these two words and how they can affect you.