epidemic curve

noun

variants or less commonly epidemiological curve or epidemiologic curve or epi curve
: a visual representation in the form of a graph or chart depicting the onset and progression of an outbreak of disease and especially infectious disease in a particular population

Note: An epidemic curve plots the number of documented cases over a period of time (such as days, weeks, or months) and can provide valuable epidemiological information (such as the pattern of spread, mode of transmission, and incubation period).

As there is no specific medication to treat COVID-19, nor any vaccine to protect us against this infection, public health authorities are stressing the importance of hygiene and self-isolation to slow the spread of the virus and flatten the epidemic curve.Joseph Q. Jarvis
The E. coli outbreak, which by last official count had sickened 53 people in 16 states, dates to March 13, with no known fatalities. … The CDC publishes an "epi curve" that shows that people began getting sick on March 13.Lena H. Sun and Joel Achenbach
Community spread is limited now, but officials expect it to accelerate. Now, he [Governor Jared Polis] said, testing must scale up to offer a more informed picture of community spread and "where we are in the epidemiological curve."Fort Collins Coloradoan

Examples of epidemic curve in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Every infected person was spreading the virus to more than two other people, creating an epidemic curve that threatened to go vertical, as if aiming for the moon. Joel Achenbach, Anchorage Daily News, 12 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'epidemic curve.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1883, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of epidemic curve was in 1883

Dictionary Entries Near epidemic curve

Cite this Entry

“Epidemic curve.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epidemic%20curve. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

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