sudden increase in occurrences of a disease in a particular time and place

An outbreak is an event that sometimes cannot be controlled for several months, years, or longer. The word "outbreak" is a term used in epidemiology. It describes what happens when a disease becomes widespread that first thought. An outbreak can affect a small group or affect thousands of people across the world. An outbreak can be epidemic.

  • Common source - all victims got the disease from the same source (such as water pollution)[1]
    • Continuous source - when the disease continues to spread for a longer time.
    • Point source - when the disease continues to spread for a short time.[1]
  • Propagated - disease is spread from person to person.[1]
  • Behavioral risk related - disease is spread by a person's behavior such as sexually transmitted diseases and malnutrition.[2]
  • Zoonotic - disease is spread from animal to animal.
Patterns of an outbreak


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Glossary of Epidemiology Terms, Cdc.gov (2007-04-25). Retrieved on 2010-11-25.
  2. [1]