Endemic, Epidemic, and Pandemic Occurrence of Disease(s)

Subject: Health Care
Type: Expository Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 731
Topics: Disease, Health, HIV, Medicine

Q.1 At what point does a disease become an epidemic, endemic, or pandemic and their respective parameters?

A condition is termed ‘endemic’ when it exists or occurs in permanently and perpetually in a particular population of an area. One of the parameters of an endemic condition is a ‘steady state‘ occurrence. A good example is Malaria that is endlessly affecting people in most African regions. On the other hand, a disease is referred as an ‘epidemic’ when it affects many individuals of a given population at a relatively short time like two weeks. As some of the most critical parameters, the outbreak must be infectious, affect many people, and should be within a brief period. A good illustration of an epidemic is the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak that killed about 800 people in 2003. Lastly, a ‘pandemic’ occurs when an ‘epidemic’ spreads to all parts of the world affecting people everywhere. For example, HIV is pandemic because its impacts are felt in all regions of the world (Merrill, 2015).

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Q.2 do you agree that bird flu, as well as HIV and AIDS, are a series of epidemics? Why or why not?

Yes, HIV and AIDS, as well as bird flu, are a classified as series of epidemics. They are only termed as a pandemic because they are widespread and affect many populations across different parts of the world. One of the primary reasons the two diseases are a series of epidemics is because of their infectious nature and ability to affect a large group of people in a particular population just within a short time. Also, HIV and AIDS, as well as bird flu, meet several criteria of an epidemic, especially based on the modifications that occur in the infectious agents. These include the ability to be introduced into a new environment, increased virulence, and change in host susceptibility, particularly to the infective agent (Merrill, 2015).

Q.3 Should we study epidemiology and disease control as a complement to the provision of healthcare services? Why or why not?

Yes, epidemiology and disease control is a necessary complement to the provision of health services. Experts define epidemiology as the study and analysis of illness among populations. Epidemiological tactics are important as they aid stakeholders and public health professionals in outbreak investigations, disease surveillance, and monitoring, as well as observational research to recognize the risk factors and measures to prevent disease occurrences. Knowledge and data on these risk factors are critical to the implementation of illness control processes (Bartlett & Judge, 1997). As a matter of fact, epidemiological approaches like the hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) provide essential data used in most research centers like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Q.4 Disease control has evolved since the discoveries and achievements of these epidemiological pioneers—Hippocrates, John Snow, Pasteur, and Koch. Explain the impact of at least one significant historical contribution on the current status of epidemiological practices.

One of the most influential pioneers that have contributed to epidemiological practices is Louis Pasteur, a renowned French chemist, and microbiologists who made several critical discoveries like the principles of pasteurization, vaccination, and microbial fermentation that are presently widely applied. For example, in pasteurization, Louis discovered that heating (especially drinks and foodstuffs such as canned food, juice, and milk) destroys all the microbes that are likely to cause spoilage. This process prevents such foods and beverages from getting sour by significantly reducing microbial numbers.

How history can potentially shape and affect our future work in public health and clinical medicine

History has the potential to shape and impact our future work in the public health and clinical medicine in several ways. Notably, previous surveillance knowledge and data focused on infectious diseases like HIV, cancer, and many others are important in predicting future trends of the diseases (Merrill, 2015). For example, epidemiological information such as HIV outbreaks and spread, preventive methods, susceptibility, and mortality rates can potentially shape and impact our future public health and clinical medicine policies, particularly regarding the mechanisms to combat its spread and impact in generations to come.

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  1. Bartlett, P. C., & Judge, L. J. (1997). The Role of Epidemiology in Public Health. Rev Sci Tech., 16(2), 331-336.
  2. Merrill, R. M. (2015). Introduction to Epidemiology. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
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