Epidemics and Pandemics

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Epidemics and pandemics are outbreaks of disease or other pathogens.


Epidemics exceed expectations for an outbreak. For example, many people are expected to get the flu each year. But a rapid increase in flu cases to an unexpected level would be an epidemic.


Pandemics are global outbreaks of disease or other pathogens. This occurs when a virus or bacteria causes a serious illness that is easily spreading between people throughout the world.

An example of a pandemic is the H1N1 flu virus in 2009-10.

Preparing For an Epidemic or Pandemic

Stay alert and informed. Keep your emergency supply kit ready. Know what types of epidemics are occurring and how they may affect you and your family.

Continue to monitor local TV, radio and online news sources and follow directions from officials about sheltering-in-place or evacuating.

Practice healthy habits that can help protect you, family and friends.

Wash your hands. Cover coughs and sneezes. Stay home from school and work if you are sick.

Additional Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Oklahoma City-County Health Department