Although the definitions of the terms “epidemic” and “pandemic” remain inexact, authorities mostly agree that the difference between the two words is subtle and hinges on the geographical scale of the disease and the number of populations afflicted. Generally, an epidemic is a frequent, severe, and widespread outbreak of a specific disease, whereas a pandemic is a recurring epidemic that affects a very large area of the world.
Knowledge of major epidemics and pandemics from the beginning of recorded history provides insight into the beliefs and mind-sets peculiar to times that were unable to combat catastrophic diseases. With the gradual realization that epidemics demand responses from the medical community, world societies began to understand the need for clean water, antibiotics, vaccines, and quarantines. This knowledge also raises serious questions about the future of epidemics and pandemics from the standpoint of population shifts and growth, primarily in dense urban populations in warm climates, and about mass migration and the aging or younger populations who are especially at risk. Other serious considerations include the cost of public health measures, the effect of certain political imperatives, and the possibilities that those without money would be disregarded.
You can access research and information on pandemics and search this online database
with Gilmer as the user name, and Library as the password.