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An epidemic is generally understood to mean the considerable and supra-regional spread of a threatening, highly contagious infectious disease ( epidemic ) with relatively short incubation times, be it through transmission from animal to animal or from person to person.

The massive spread of an infectious disease that can be transmitted from person to person is initially referred to as an epidemic and when it spreads across several continents as a pandemic . The terms epidemic and pandemic are not used for animal diseases ; instead, one speaks of epizootic and panzootic .

A historically significant epidemic was the Black Death in the Middle Ages , a pandemic today usually referred to as the plague . Smallpox , cholera , spotted fever , measles and flu also appeared as epidemics . Since 2005, the term epidemic has also been used frequently for the spread of the influenza A / H5N1 virus , the causative agent of the H5N1 bird flu .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Manfred Vasold: Plague trains. 2005, p. 1323.