Why is epidemiology important in the study of health and disease in communities? Provide an example from current literature or a news article noting an epidemiologic study.
Epidemiology is a health activity that is aimed at protecting and improving the health of a population or community. Epidemiological gather information for studies that can help community decision makers utilize community, local, state, and national level resources to prevent, control disease outbreaks, and analyze prevention programs. "Epidemiology is the study of the origin and cause of diseases in a community. It is the scientific method of investigation problem-solving used by disease detectives-epidemiologists, laboratory scientists, statisticians, physicians and other health care providers, and public health professionals-to get to the root of health problems and outbreaks in a community" (cdc, n.d.). Epidemiologist investigate to identify the cause of an outbreak and develop interventions to prevent further cases of a disease. During an outbreak they collect data on symptoms, past medical history, lab tests, exams findings, and treatments.
A news article from the Associated Press September 20, reports on a brain-eating amoeba bacteria found in the water supply in St. Bernard Parish in New Orleans. It was reported that this bacteria had killed a 4 year old Mississippi boy who had visited the area. Some believed the water was contaminated from Katrina in 2005, but it was not detected in the water supply only in individuals household water pipes. This bacteria can be found in fresh water supplies and most cases are caused this way. Water supplies were treated with high amounts of chlorine. It is reported that investigators may never know how it got into the water pipes.
McConnaughey, J. (2013). Brain-Eating Amoeba Rattles Nerves in La. Parish. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/brain-eating-rattles-nerves-la-parish-20314230
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