Applications: Outbreak Investigation
The chapter starts with a discussion of the conditions that may lead to outbreaks of disease, such as the presence of a large proportion of susceptibles in the population. This initial overview also presents some special features of outbreak investigation in epidemiology such as the urgency and the dynamic nature of the situation. The steps involved in a traditional cohort type of investigation are presented and some of the problems with this traditional method of outbreak investigation are discussed. The second part of the chapter highlights the advantages of the case-control method in outbreak investigation, such as the inclusion of all cases and the testing of multiple etiologic hypotheses. Guidelines for the use of the case-control method in outbreak investigation are provided. The final part of the chapter presents an approach for surveillance that combines case-control investigation as part of the system.
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