单词 endemic、epidemic 及 pandemic 往往会造成混淆,我想在此说明这些单词在应用于公共卫生领域时的差异。

Endemic 主要当作形容词使用(当作名词使用时,这个单词是 endemic disease 的简化形式)。当作形容词使用时,endemic 表示“特定时间、地点或群体所特有的”。因此,endemic disease 指影响范围相当有限的疾病。此外,endemic disease 并不包括“短暂流行”的意思,所以应该将其解释为长期或永久性的现象。与此相反,epidemic 指短暂爆发的疾病,患者人数突然显著增加、疾病迅速扩散,之后又突然销声匿迹。所谓的 epidemic,并不局限于特定群体或地区,也不限定为长期性质。Pandemic 的意思与 epidemic 非常相近,唯一的差别在于两者的规模。通常,pandemic 指影响范围达到全国或全球规模的传染病爆发。


  1. In order for an infectious disease to be endemic to a region, each infected person must, on average, infect one other person; if the transmission rate is lower, the disease will die out, while if it is higher, the infection rate will increase exponentially, and the disease will become epidemic.
  2. An epidemic will eventually disappear or leave an endemic disease. In either case, however, there is the chance that an epidemic may reappear in the future.
  3. The first influenza pandemic of the 21st century was the “swine flu” (Influenza A/H1N1) outbreak of 2009–2010. It was first reported in Mexico and eventually spread throughout the world, killing over 6,000 people.

[1] 这些单词也可应用于其它上下文,不过就 pandemic 而言,这种用法比较罕见。


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