Causes of Epidemics
An epidemic develops when new cases of a particular health issue or disease develop in people during a specific period. This condition may not be communicable. If an epidemic spreads throughout the world, it is referred to as pandemic. An epidemic can be caused due to various factors. Following are a list of factors that cause epidemics.
Causes of Epidemics:
The environment and host will be in constant interaction and a disease is caused when there is a disturbance in equilibrium between the environment, agent and host. A disease becomes epidemic when the environmental conditions are not favorable for man and favorable for the disease agent. One might have observed some disasters such as earthquakes, floods, famine and wars are mostly followed by the epidemics of infections.
It happens because after the disaster the conditions are favorable for the occurrence of epidemics. There are also other factors supplementing and complementing the factors that are responsible for the outbreak of epidemics.
Following are some factors which are responsible for epidemic breakouts.
- Pre-existent diseases in people: If the people in a locale are already suffering from a disease, the population in that region is more likely to suffer from epidemics. If there is no pre-existent disease in that region, the population in the region is unlike to suffer from epidemics after the disasters.
- Resistance potential of host: The immunization and nutritional status of host population determines the susceptibility of communicable disease. The communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, diphtheria, whooping cough and measles are more susceptible in children with poor nutrition.
- Ecological changes: Ecological changes are more prevalent during natural disasters such as cyclones and floods. This results in increase in breeding grounds for mosquitoes. This leads to increase in outbreak of malaria. Decomposition of organic material and open defecating and decay rise insect breeding and hence increases disease transmission such as parasitic diseases, virus infections, dysentery, diarrhea and conjunctivitis.
- Temporary settlement of population: Rehabilitation operations which are taken after a disaster are generally set up in the crowded camps temporarily. It is difficult to provide sanitation, safe drinking water and many other basic amenities at these places. This increases the incidence of infectious diseases such as scabies, tuberculosis, whooping cough, measles, dysentery and other skin disorders.
- Damage to public utility: If water supply and sewage get damaged, it can cause contamination in large scale and subsequently results in epidemic breakouts. If there is an interruption in health programs, it may lead to disease resurgence.