Medical Definition of Epizootic

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Epizootic: An epidemic outbreak of disease in an animal population, often with the implication that it may extend to humans. For example, Rift Valley fever (RVF) primarily affects livestock and can cause disease in a large number of domestic animals -- an "epizootic" -- and the presence of an RVF epizootic can lead to an epidemic among humans who are exposed to diseased animals.

The word "epizootic" is pronounced ep'i-zo-ot'ik. It has Greek roots: epi- meaning "on" among other things, + zoon, "animal."

Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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