General Principles In Epidemiology

General Principles In Epidemiology

Week 2: Workshop 1 – general principles in epidemiology

Week 2: Instructions for workshop 1

General principles in epidemiology

This is the first of 3 workshops. They are all quite different in their format of what is asked of you.

These workshops are about general skill development and are simple exercises. As our feedback resources are limited, no feedback will be provided as the learning is performed in the doing and your answers will be a reflection of the depth of your research. Make sure that when you hand it these workshops that your name and student number appears at the top of your page.

Workshop 1 has a series of questions for you to find the answers. We mark very quickly so you can keep your answers brief. Don’t bother with referencing, there are no marks for providing a reference (except for in question 1b which just shows us the source of your information in your provided hyperlink). Please only send in the answers as we know the question and we would like your report to be no more than two sides of an A4. There are no marks for format, keep it simple and quick. Please save your final version of the workshop as either a .doc or a .pdf. Upload your workshop via the link provided in the Assignments Link (left side online). (Select Workshop 1 link and look for the red button top right that says submit assignment).

A good source for general information is the online encyclopedia called Wikipedia, especially since you don’t have to provide references. Remember only use Wikipedia to help you understand a topic, it should not be used as a reference. Here is the Outbreak page . Wikipedia is trying to provide references for every topic so you may find useful leads to references for your task reports.


  1. The world is facing a new pandemic threat.
  2. What does the word pandemic mean and why is it used in relation to Avian influenza?

The following part b. asks you to use a reliable source of information! Use the following website to source your answer:


About the CDC: What can I say, the Americans have lots of resources to plough into this very impressive organisation. This website is a virtual encyclopaedia of all things infectious! When I last looked there was a link to Giant African snails and Health risk!

Look under publications and Products tab in the left hand column at the CDC site, the Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal is free and will be useful for some projects. MMWR is very famous amongst people interested in infectious disease, check it out. (

If you are looking for some images, you can freely use those in their image bank at ( For the CDC link to Bioterrorism topics (  (

You must reference a particular page from the CDC to answer this question 1b.

  1. We have lived with influenza for many years, why are we worried about Avian influenza? (Alsosome optional information in the optional reference text, “Killer Germs”, pg. 141). Provide a link to a reliable source of information in your answer.
  2. It is said that an Avian influenza outbreak will cause social disruption. How is this possible?
  3. a. When reading newspapers, the terms bacteria and virus are used interchangeably. By describing the basic differences between bacteria and viruses, give an example of when it is important to use the correct term when describing an outbreak agent. To help you search an answer try entering the following question into the Google search engine – What is the difference between viruses and bacteria?
  4. Explain how herd immunity can lead to the eradication of disease. The following link takes you to a page with a great video of herd immunity (scroll down the page, watch both videos, Part b mentions herd immunity). (

  1. One of the limitations of controlling infectious disease is identifying all infected people when some people may be incubating the infection or have subclinical infection.
  2. Genital warts is an example of a disease where people may have subclinical infection. Explainwhy it is important to diagnose subclinical warts infection.


  1. Why is it important to identify patients who are incubating Hepatitis C? (You may find thefollowing website gives you some ideas but only after you understand what it means to be “incubating a disease”). (

  1. Diseases may be described as endemic or epidemic.

(You can look up the word endemic at

( ), use this dictionary for any other difficult words, you can even listen to the pronunciation!)

  1. Go to the following article:

( or use the figure provided online where you found these workshop instructions. If using the article, enlarge the graph you will find by scrolling down to the little box on the right side (labeled ‘Figure’).

Look at the patterns of incidence for the diseases in the graph. Which diseases have a pattern consistent with endemic disease and which diseases display a possible epidemic pattern and explain your choice(s) (Hint: don’t forget some diseases may have seasonal variation and this is still classified as endemic, you only need paragraph 3 of the discussion if you need some help with this!).

  1. Outbreaks can also be classified as common-source outbreaks or person to person propagatedoutbreaks. Give a scenario for each of these two types of outbreaks.

(Hint: Use Google to search for “common source outbreak” and “propagated outbreak”)

  1. The terms ‘incidence’ and ‘prevalence’ of disease can sometimes be confused. By using an online search engine, provide description for both these terms, showing clearly how they describe different things. Extra marks will be given when using examples.

If you are having trouble starting this one, try the search term -incidence (epidemiology) in Wikipedia but do not regurgitate the Wikipedia contents as we will know!

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