AskDefine | Define epizootic

Dictionary Definition

epizootic adj : (of animals) epidemic among animals of a single kind within a particular region; "an epizootic disease"

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. In the context of "epidemiology": An occurrence of a disease or disorder in a population of non-human animals at a frequency higher than that expected in a given time period.


  1. Like or having to do with an epizootic.
    Epizootic plague occurred in the mice following introduction of rats from Europe.

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Extensive Definition

In epizoology, an epizootic (from Greek epi- upon + zoion animal) is a disease that appears as new cases in a given animal population, during a given period, at a rate that substantially exceeds what is "expected" based on recent experience (i.e. a sharp elevation in the incidence rate). An epidemic is the same term applied to human populations. High population density is a major contributing factor to epizootics, with aquaculture being an example of an industry sometimes plagued by disease because of the large number of fish confined to a small area.
Defining an epizootic can be subjective, depending in part on what is "expected". An epizootic may be: a) restricted to a specific locale (an outbreak), b) general (an "epizootic") or c) widespread (panzootic). Because it is based on what is "expected" or thought normal, a few cases of a very rare disease (like a TSE outbreak in a Cervid population) might be classified as an "epizootic," while many cases of a common disease (like lymphocystis in Esocids) would not.
Common diseases that occur at a constant but relatively high rate in the population are said to be "enzootic." An example of an enzootic disease would be the influenza virus in some bird populations or, at a lower incidence, the Type IVb strain of VHS in certain Atlantic fish populations.
An example of an epizootic would be the 1990 outbreak of Newcastle disease virus in double-crested cormorant colonies on the Great Lakes that resulted in the death of some 10,000 birds.

Zambia EUS outbreak

On September 14, 2007, epizootic ulcerative sydrome (EUS), a mysterious disease killed hundreds of sore-covered fish in River Zambezi. The Agriculture Minister of Zambia, Ben Kapita, asked experts to investigate the outbreak to probe the cause to find out if the disease can be transmitted to humans.


epizootic in Catalan: Epizoòtia
epizootic in German: Tierseuche
epizootic in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Epizootia
epizootic in Spanish: Epizootia
epizootic in Esperanto: Epizootio
epizootic in French: Épizootie
epizootic in Polish: Epizootia
epizootic in Portuguese: Epizootia
epizootic in Russian: Эпизоотия
epizootic in Swedish: Epizooti
epizootic in Ukrainian: Епізоотія
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