Any event that presents a widespread danger to public health, and which requires response by local, state or national public health officials, is considered a public health event. This includes widespread or severe disease outbreaks and incidents of contamination.
An epidemic is disease outbreak covering a large area; a pandemic is a worldwide disease outbreak.
Influenza pandemics are the most common public health emergency, although other diseases, such as MERS and SARS, have also become widespread at times and could potentially impact mid-Michigan.
Public health emergencies are events of disease or contamination that affect, or have the potential to affect, a large number of people.
Public health emergencies are often hardest on the elderly, those with disabilities, or who are chronically ill. The homeless are also a concern in public health emergencies, since they do not have the same access to medical care as the general public, and may live in unhygienic conditions.