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What is the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic?

Hello dr Mo

At the moment, many experts are throwing technical terms around. Luan doesn't even understand the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic.
Like many, Luan is confused and hopes you can help him.

Dear Luan,

For a long time, a lot has been written about the new type of coronavirus, which is in technical termsCoronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is called. It's not always easy to classify. No wonder you're confused. We experience that many people become infected with a disease within a very short time that can spread so uncontrollably.

If this happens within a certain area, we speak of an epidemic. The novel corona virus originated in a certain area in China. If the outbreak had only happened there, it would have remained an epidemic.

During an epidemic, everything is done to bring the situation in the area under control to prevent a disease from spreading further and subsequently affecting other countries. For this, infected people are found and then have to be isolated, where they can be cared for and treated if necessary. This means that they are not allowed to have contact with other people so that they cannot pass the virus on.

People with whom infected people have already had contact are also tracked down and asked to be quarantined. The isolation or quarantine lasts until either the patient has recovered and can no longer infect anyone, or until it is clear that the contact person has not infected an infected person. This works if the number of infected people is not too large and the number of previous contacts remains traceable.

People are used to traveling privately or professionally, and within a very short time we can be in a wide variety of places. We call this globalization, among other things. That's great, but unfortunately it makes it easy for viruses like Sars-CoV-2 to spread across national borders and continents. Experts believe that it is possible for a highly infectious virus to appear on the other side of the world in just 48 hours. If that happens and a worldwide spread of a disease occurs uncontrolled within a very short time, then there is talk of a pandemic. This is currently also the case with the new type of corona virus.

Various measures have already been taken in many countries to contain the pandemic. Germany and other countries had initially issued a worldwide travel warning and many countries had closed their borders so that the virus would not be brought into the country from outside.

Stay healthy and preferably at home
Your dr. Mon