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Outbreak Investigation

  • In: Encyclopedia of Epidemiology
  • Edited by: Sarah Boslaugh
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Health Research Methods , Epidemiology & Biostatistics

Outbreak investigations are a subgroup of epidemiologic studies called ‘field investigations.’ When the numbers of persons affected by a particular disease, usually infectious, exceeds the number of cases expected in a given place during a given time period, it may be said that there is an outbreak of that disease. Epidemiologists may then conduct targeted investigations to (a) determine the cause and etiology of the disease, (b) to limit the spread and severity of illness of the disease, and (c) to prevent future outbreaks. In addition, investigations of this sort can serve to identify new modes of transmission of illnesses, identify new pathogens, and monitor the effectiveness of prevention activities. Collectively, these activities make up an outbreak investigation. Investigations of this type require epidemiologists to ...

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