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Multilingual Demographic Dictionary, second unified edition, English volume

Notifiable disease

Multilingual Demographic Dictionary, second unified edition, English vol.
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Notifiable disease  (NOTIFIABLE disease)

An endemic disease 1 is one that permanently affects substantial segments of a population, in contrast with an epidemic 2, which spreads and then disappears within a fairly short time; when it appears in a large number of countries, it is called a pandemic 3. Certain infectious diseases 4 or communicable diseases 4 have attracted particular attention, because they are capable of infecting large numbers of persons within relatively short time intervals. In such instances we speak of epidemic diseases 5, and special epidemiological statistics 6 are collected to show their incidence. It is possible to obtain information about these illnesses in various countries because legislation has made their reporting compulsory; they are therefore called notifiable diseases 7. A distinction is sometimes made between chronic diseases 8 and acute diseases 9. These terms are not precisely defined, but acute diseases are generally understood to be those of abrupt onset and short duration while chronic diseases are those with slow onset and long duration, and often causing prolonged disability.

  • 2. Epidemic, n., also used as adj.
  • 4. Infectious, adj. - infect, v. - infection, n. The terms communicable diseases, contagious diseases and infectious diseases are not synonymous. A contagious disease can only be transmitted from person to person; thus, malaria, a communicable disease, is not contagious. Moreover, certain infectious diseases are not communicable.
  • 6. Epidemiology, n.: the science dealing with epidemics - epidemiologist, n.: a specialist in epidemiology - epidemiological, adj.: pertaining to epidemiology. The meaning of these terms has expanded greatly, and epidemiology now covers the study of relations between a biological or medical phenomenon and various factors, such as tobacco for example in "the epidemiology of lung cancer," or alternatively the statistical analysis of geographic variations in health phenomena.