epidemic of infectious disease that has spread across a large region with global health impact

A pandemic (from Greek πᾶν, pan, "all" and δῆμος, demos, "people") is an epidemic of an infectious disease that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple continents or worldwide, affecting a substantial number of people.


  • The connection between epidemics and pandemics and the growth of the modern state is clear. As early as the fifteenth century, in response to the plague, Italian city states formed state-sponsored boards of health. The cholera pandemics of the nineteenth century led to nationwide efforts at quarantine—efforts that could only be carried off by a central state. Measures such as compulsory vaccination also demonstrated this connection.

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