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An epidemic is a classification of a disease that appears as new cases in a given human population, during a given period, at a rate that substantially exceeds what is "expected," based on recent experience (the number of new cases in the population during a specified period of time is called the "incidence rate").

A pandemic is an epidemic that spreads across a large region (for example a continent), or even worldwide.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick, too.

  • If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, or cough/sneeze into the inner elbow joint of your arm. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Dispose of any used tissue in a trash receptacle.
  • Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
For information on current epidemics/pandemics, please visit: