How epidemiologists might determine where an outbreak occurred.
Describe how epidemiologists might determine where an outbreak occurred.
How Epidemiologists Determine Outbreak Occurrences
A disease outbreak refers to the process of detecting and reporting various occurrences of the illness in an area that is more than the projected figure of a given population over a given period (McKenzie, Pinger & Seabet, 2018). In case of the epidemiological outbreak, it is believed that the cases are related in some way. As such, the initial step of establishing the outbreak entails answering the questions who, when and where. The first step entails the epidemiologists carrying out a head count to establish the number of cases of the disease have occurred. In this stage, they attempt to establish who is sick (McKenzie, Pinger & Seabet, 2018). The information they collect in this phase enables them to design a summary of cases by sex, age, race, occupation, marital status, employer, as well as other related traits of the individuals involved. This information offers an essential information to establish disparities in health outcomes among various segments of the population.
Secondly, the epidemiologists characterize health events based on the time they occurred. It is important to note that the time period of interest will vary significantly and often depends on the health condition being discussed. In this stage, the epidemiologists determine the incubation period and symptoms to establish the specific cause of the disease. Finally, the epidemiologists have to establish where the outbreak occurred. The establish the origin of the illness, the epidemiologists record the travel history and residential address such as restaurants, schools, vacations and shopping trips of each case. This data offers a geographic distribution of cases and assists to delineate the magnitude of the outbreak (McKenzie, Pinger & Seabet, 2018). Afterwards, the epidemiologists plot this information on the map along with natural features including human made structures in order to gain essential information about source of the disease.
McKenzie, J., Pinger, R., & Seabet, D. M. (2018). An introduction to community health. Jones & Bartlett Publishers, LLC.