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Basic Epidemiology

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Date Developed: 8/18/2010. Source: Upper Midwest Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center. Presenter(s): Iowa Department of Public Health. Type: Online Course. Level: Introductory. Length: 60 minutes.


This interactive course introduces the field of epidemiology and its practice in the field of public health. The first section presents definitions of important terms, including determinants, transmission, case, communicability, prevalence, and incidence. Next, the section describes two models of the infectious disease process: (1) chain of infections and (2) the Epi Triangle (agent, host and environment). The third section describes the practice of epidemiology, with particular focus on outbreak investigation. Finally, the course concludes with an overview of surveillance, defining different types and components of successful systems. Examples, short quizzes and a post-test are used to reinforce learning.

Learning Objectives

• Discuss important terms and concepts for basic epidemiology practice.

• Describe the inter-related aspects of the infectious disease process and methods of breaking this "chain" of infection.

• Understand basic epidemiology in practice, using a case study of a food-borne outbreak as an example.

• Perform basic surveillance tasks in an appropriate and timely manner.

• Utilize your regional epidemiologist as a resource for outbreak investigations.

Special Instructions

Registration to the Upper Midwest Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center is required. Use the "Register for this Training" link at the bottom of the page.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UE8MC25742; MCH Navigator for $225,000/year. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.