Basic Epidemiology Terms

neilmehta's version from 2015-10-22 15:11


Question Answer
ClusterAn aggregation of cases over a particular period closely grouped in time and space, regardless of whether the number is more than the expected number
OutbreakMore cases of a particular disease than expected in a given area or among a specialized group of people over a particular period of time.
EpidemicLarge numbers of people over a wide geographical area are affected
PandemicAn epidemic occurring over several countries or continents and affecting a large proportion of the population.
SurveillanceThe systematic and ongoing collection, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of health data. The purpose of public health surveillance is to gain knowledge of the patterns of disease, injury, and other health problems in a community so that we can work towards their prevention and control.
PlagueA serious, potentially life-threatening infectious disease that is usually transmitted to humans by the bites of rodent fleas. It was one of the scourges of our early history. There are three major forms of the disease: bubonic, septicemic, and pneumonic.


Question Answer
VectorAn animal that transmits disease. For example a mosquito is a vector for malaria.
FomiteA physical object that serves to transmit an infectious agent from person to person.
RiskThe probability that an individual will be affected by, or die from, an illness or injury within a stated time or age span. Risk of illness is generally considered to be the same as the Incidence (see below) and the terms are used interchangeably. Age-span is not usually a consideration in this usage. Risk of death from a particular illness is expressed as the Case Fatality Rate (Number deaths due to a disease/Number with the disease) or the Cause-specific Mortality Rate (Number deaths due to a disease/Number in population). Age span is a more common consideration in this last usage.
ZoonosisAn infectious disease that is transmissible from animals to humans.
Incubation PeriodTime in between when a person somes into contact with a pathogen and when they first show symptoms or signs of disease.
Endemic DiseasePresent at a continuous level throughout a population/geographic area; constant presence of an agent/health condition within a given geographic area/population; refers to the usual prevalence of an agent/condition.