What is endemic, pandemic and epidemic?

22 March, 2020 12:00 AM printer

What is endemic, pandemic and epidemic?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been spreading drastically from one country to another since December 2019. It has become one of the most rapidly spreading viruses in the world. Now, it has reached dangerous state in about 160 countries of the world. The whole world is panicking due to this virus.

From the beginning, some of the terminology uttered regularly was directly related to the spreading properties of COVID-19. The most uttered word nowadays is Endemic, Pandemic and Epidemic. The majority of us don’t know what it means. To give you basic idea about this terminology I am explaining this terminology in a nutshell. All three terms are epidemiological terms which are commonly used in the study of diseases. Let’s have a look -


The term endemic comes from a Greek word Endemos where En means “in or within” and demos means “people”. That is endemic means “in or within the people. So the constant presence and/or usual prevalence of a disease or infectious agent in a population within a geographic area is called Endemic. The geographical area is small and the disease happening in a time frame. COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan city of China which was then called endemic disease.


The term pandemic comes from a Greek word Pandemos where pan means “all” and demos means “in people”. That is pandemic indicate that “within all people”. Pandemic refers to an epidemic that has spread over several countries or continents, usually affecting a large number of people. Presently the coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading all over the world that’s why the World Health Organization (WHO) announces it as pandemic disease. Because this disease happened all around the world in a short period.


According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) epidemic refers to an increase, often sudden, in the number of cases of a disease above what is normally expected in that population in that area. As the COVID-19 cases increase rapidly so it can be said that it is an epidemic disease.

These are the basic differences among endemic, pandemic and epidemic. Let’s know the COVID-19 and help to prevent the outbreak of this disease, save ourselves and save our nation as well. Awareness is the best policy to prevent COVID-19.


Md Billal Hossen,

MS Student

Department of Applied

Nutrition and Food


Faculty of Biological

Science Islamic University, Bangladesh