Investigating Pandemics and Epidemics

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Some of the most notable epidemics include the bubonic plague in the 14th century, smallpox in the 18th century, and influenza in the 20th century. Reportedly, the bubonic plague caused over 137 million deaths, whereas the death toll associated with influenza was 25 million (Ernst, 2001). These are dramatic examples of the kinds of acute outbreaks that led to the practice of epidemiology.

Many epidemiologists and health care professionals are concerned about the next potential pandemic or epidemic. With the increased mobility of society, the spread of infectious diseases continues to pose a serious threat. For this Discussion, you will investigate pandemics and epidemics using epidemiological tools, and you will consider strategies for mitigating disease outbreaks.

To prepare:

  • Using      the Learning Resources, consider examples of emerging or reemerging      infectious diseases that are occurring locally, nationally, or abroad.      Then, select one example on which to focus.
  • Explore      the epidemiological investigative process used to identify the emerging or      reemerging infectious disease or outbreak.
  • Examine      your selected infectious disease using the epidemiologic triangle and      vector theory.
  • Consider      how health care interventions may reduce the emergence or reemergence of      infectious diseases.

Post a cohesive response that addresses the following:

1) Identify the emerging or reemerging infectious disease you selected.

2) Discuss the investigative process used to identify the outbreak, and describe its effect using descriptive epidemiology (person, place, and time).

3) Apply the epidemiologic triangle and vector theory to your selected outbreak.

4) Evaluate how prior health care interventions, or lack thereof, created the conditions that allowed this infectious disease to emerge.

5) Discuss how the disease outbreak might have been avoided or mitigated. Include agencies, organizations, and resources that could have supported these efforts. If appropriate, consider ongoing efforts to control the outbreak.

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