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  • List some challenges to determining the causative agent of a disease outbreak.

The role of public health organizations

The main national public health agency in the United States is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. The CDC is charged with protecting the public from disease and injury. One way that the CDC carries out this mission is by overseeing the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (NNDSS) in cooperation with regional, state, and territorial public health departments. The NNDSS monitors diseases considered to be of public health importance on a national scale. Such diseases are called notifiable disease s or reportable disease s because all cases must be reported to the CDC. A physician treating a patient with a notifiable disease is legally required to submit a report on the case. Notifiable diseases include HIV infection, measles , West Nile virus infections, and many others. Some states have their own lists of notifiable diseases that include diseases beyond those on the CDC’s list.

Notifiable diseases are tracked by epidemiological studies and the data is used to inform health-care providers and the public about possible risks. The CDC publishes the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report ( MMWR ) , which provides physicians and health-care workers with updates on public health issues and the latest data pertaining to notifiable diseases. [link] is an example of the kind of data contained in the MMWR .

Incidence of Four Notifiable Diseases in the United States, Week Ending January 2, 2016
Disease Current Week (Jan 2, 2016) Median of Previous 52 Weeks Maximum of Previous 52 Weeks Cumulative Cases 2015
Campylobacteriosis 406 869 1,385 46,618
Chlamydia trachomatis infection 11,024 28,562 31,089 1,425,303
Giardiasis 115 230 335 11,870
Gonorrhea 3,207 7,155 8,283 369,926
  • Describe how health agencies obtain data about the incidence of diseases of public health importance.

Key concepts and summary

  • Epidemiology is the science underlying public health.
  • Morbidity means being in a state of illness, whereas mortality refers to death; both morbidity rates and mortality rates are of interest to epidemiologists.
  • Incidence is the number of new cases (morbidity or mortality), usually expressed as a proportion, during a specified time period; prevalence is the total number affected in the population, again usually expressed as a proportion.
  • Sporadic diseases only occur rarely and largely without a geographic focus. Endemic diseases occur at a constant (and often low) level within a population. Epidemic diseases and pandemic diseases occur when an outbreak occurs on a significantly larger than expected level, either locally or globally, respectively.
  • Koch’s postulates specify the procedure for confirming a particular pathogen as the etiologic agent of a particular disease. Koch’s postulates have limitations in application if the microbe cannot be isolated and cultured or if there is no animal host for the microbe. In this case, molecular Koch’s postulates would be utilized.
  • In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention monitors notifiable diseases and publishes weekly updates in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Matching

Match each term with its description.

___sporadic disease A. the number of disease cases per 100,000 individuals
___endemic disease B. a disease in higher than expected numbers around the world
___pandemic disease C. the number of deaths from a disease for every 10,000 individuals
___morbidity rate D. a disease found occasionally in a region with cases occurring mainly in isolation from each other
___mortality rate E. a disease found regularly in a region

D, E, B, A, C

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Fill in the blank

The ________ collects data and conducts epidemiologic studies in the United States.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC

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Short answer

During an epidemic, why might the prevalence of a disease at a particular time not be equal to the sum of the incidences of the disease?

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In what publication would you find data on emerging/reemerging diseases in the United States?

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Questions & Answers

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replication is a term related to generation of new DNA from a parental DNA.
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replication is a term related to generation of new DNA from parental DNA.
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toxins released inside the cell or a body is endotoxin n toxins released outside the cell or a body is exotoxin.
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the study of viruses
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Source:  OpenStax, Microbiology. OpenStax CNX. Nov 01, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12087/1.4
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