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Epidemics

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The word "epidemic" (Greek epidêmos, "which circulates among the people") refers to either the appearance of a large number of cases of a new disease or an increase in the number of cases of a disease already existing in a given region within a community. When the increase is reduced, more or less rapidly this is considered the end of a period called the epidemic cycle. By extension, the term "epidemic" is also used at the increased incidence of events related to health, and that happen to be in excess of expected values. For example, one speaks of epidemic with respect to sales of a drug, when they go far beyond expectations. In animals and plants, specific terms refer to the occurrence of epidemics: epidemic for the first and epiphytic for seconds. The term "epidemic" was used for the first time by Hippocrates, in referring to mumps. It was used exclusively to describe the outbreaks of acute infectious and thus transferable diseases. In the twentieth century, the definition was extended to any disease, contagious or not, and health events affecting a large number of people and is extremely common in the population studied. This definition allows us to consider as part of the epidemiology, non-communicable diseases like heart disease, certain cancers, certain diseases of aging, but also health phenomena such as depression.

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