Difference Between Epidemic and Pandemic Level Outbreaks – Comparisons

Difference Between Epidemic and Pandemic Level Outbreaks – Comparisons

Regular Influenza Epidemic

Influenza, popularly termed ‘the flu’, is brought about by the influenza virus, affecting the respiratory tract, including the lungs, nose and throat. It usually starts from mild to serious sickness, and sometimes can be fatal also. The influenza virus can be passed on from person to person via the respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes, just like the swine flu virus.

This may be transmitted through direct person-to-person contact especially of the hands, or having contact with air borne droplets expelled by persons infected with influenza up to three feet away from each other. This is another difference between epidemic and pandemic.

Indications or symptoms of influenza may include some or all of the following: headache, fever, general weakness of the body, running or stuffed nose, muscle aches, sore throat and dry coughing. Additional symptoms in children may include gastrointestinal problems like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach aches.

The average incubation period of influenza, or the time the virus is considered communicable is about 7 days, with the first 2 days prior to the actual manifestation of the illness, and the next 5 days manifesting its full symptoms. For children with a lower immune system, the influenza virus may even take longer than a week to subside.

The flu and the common cold are caused by different viruses albeit they are both respiratory illnesses. There is an inherent difficulty in differentiating between the two viruses other than identifying its common symptoms. There should be caution in pointing out the difference between epidemic and pandemic level outbreaks. 

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Basically, influenza is much worse and complicated than the cold, and the flu’s accompanying symptoms like fever, headache, general weakness of the body, muscle pains, dry cough and sore throat, are more pronounced and intense. Colds are usually more moderate than influenza, and are manifested by runny or stuffy nose. Colds do not pose serious problems and usually do not necessitate hospitalization.

Swine Flu Pandemic

The difference between epidemic and pandemic can be also determined by isolating this disease. The swine flu virus is a recent phenomenon that spread almost across the entire globe, and is scientifically known as the influenza A type H1N1 virus, and was first discovered in April 2009. The viral outbreak started in Mexico, and only after several months of exposure as an epidemic was it given public and national attention. The government of Mexico had to close down several public and private offices to somehow contain the spread of the swine flu virus.

With the virus then spreading out worldwide, hospitals and clinics were confounded with a flood of patients seeking treatment for this new strain of disease. After giving up in counting the different cases, the US Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization concentrated in identifying outbreak locations instead, and on June 11, 2009, declared the swine flu virus or AH1N1 virus to be a pandemic.

Now that you have learned the difference between epidemic and pandemic level outbreaks like Regular Influenza and Swine Flu, click on the link below to get a FREE 45-page report on how to protect your family from the Swine Flu virus.

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