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(veterinary medicine)
Affecting many animals of one kind in one region simultaneously; widely diffuse and rapidly spreading.
An extensive outbreak of an epizootic disease.



a widely spreading contagious disease (infectious or infestatant) of animals, with morbidity far in excess of that ordinarily (sporadically) observed in a particular locality. The study of epizootics is called epizootiology.

An epizootic is characterized by the steady spread of an infectious disease and a microbe-carrier state among animals. An epizootic can occur only in the presence of a number of interdependent elements that constitute an epizootic chain: the source of the causative agent (a diseased animal or animal microbe-carrier), live transmitters or environmental factors conducive to infection, and susceptible animals. The outbreak and spread of an epizootic are influenced by geographic, climatic, soil, and other environmental conditions and economic factors, including agricultural conditions, as well as social upheavals, such as war or economic crisis. The nature and duration of an epizootic vary depending on the means of transmission of the causative agent, the length of the incubation period, the ratio of diseased to susceptible animals, the conditions under which animals are maintained, and the effectiveness of the countermeasures.

Epizootics of certain diseases may occur periodically, usually every few years. They tend to break out seasonally and to have specific stages of development. All of these characteristics are most evident when the epizootic progresses spontaneously. Intervention by man, specifically the use of countermeasures, as in the USSR, to a considerable degree prevents the spread of epizootics.

References in periodicals archive ?
The World Health Organisation now considers it "essential" to add swine flu to the list of epizootic diseases that must be reported.
In order to avoid spreading the epizootic disease, a complete stop to the movement of all animals was decreed very soon after the first case was confirmed.
He said: "Unfortunately epizootic diseases, zoonotic diseases and novel, emerging diseases are no respecter of animal species and can infect not only farm but also companion animals.
The International Office for Epizootic Diseases (OIE) reports these cases on its Web site at [less than]www.
In accordance with international trade law, the incident was reported to the Office of International Epizootic Diseases in Paris, France.

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