BIOL0131_L6 handout_2009

BIOL0131_L6 handout_2009 - What is epidemiology Basic...

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1 Basic Medical Microbiology Lecture 6 Spread and control of infection II: Epidemiology of infectious disease What is epidemiology? • The study of the distribution of determinants of disease and injury in human populations – Note: this deFnition can include both infectious and non-infectious diseases • Historically much of our knowledge has come from the ‘great’ epidemic diseases such as: – Cholera, Plague, Smallpox, Yellow fever, Typhus • An understanding of the principles of epidemiology is essential to staff in all medical and medical support Felds • Necessary whether working with the patient or the community – I.e. infections need to be evaluated in their epidemiologic setting: • what infections are currently prevalent in the community? • has the patient recently travelled to a high-risk area? • is there a possibility of infection due to hospitalization (nosocomial) ? • what are the risks to the patients family, schoolmates etc? • The recent recognition of several emerging infectious diseases has highlighted the importance of studying epidemiology – E.g. H5N1 in±uenza ‘bird ±u’, the SARS coronovirus, Cryposporidiosis caused by Cryptosporidium • In addition, the adaptation of existing pathogens to become resistant to anitmicrobial treatments creates new epidemiologic threats – E.g. penicillin-resistant pneumonococci
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2 Factors that increase the emergence (or re-emergence) of pathogens: Population movements – Especially human and domestic animal intrusion into forests Deforestation – Exposes farmers and domestic animals to new pathogens and vectors Irrigation – Notably primitive systems that fail to control pathogens and vectors Uncontrolled urbanization – Allowing vector and pathogen breeding in stagnant and waste water Long-distance air travel – Increases contact with pathogens and vectors Sources and communicability • Infectious diseases can be caused
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BIOL0131_L6 handout_2009 - What is epidemiology Basic...

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