Epidemiology

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) collects and disseminates information about
outbreaks of disease. H1N1, SARS, and West Nile virus are just a few of the disease
outbreaks that the CDC has reported. You have been called upon to lead one of the
investigations. Select a disease outbreak for which you will lead an investigation. Refer
to the resources in the Module 2 Readings for suggestions.
In a report or outline format, present the following information:

  1. Identify and describe the necessary steps to be taken for an investigation of the
    disease outbreak.
  2. For each of the three prevention levels, provide at least two examples of prevention
    for this disease.
  3. Describe the criteria to be met before screening for this disease.
  4. Describe how the effectiveness of the screening program will be evaluated.

Epidemiology

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are based in the United States
dealing with national public health. It has been noted that CDC’s headquarter is in Georgia
and carries out its operations under the Department of Health and Human Services working
as a Federal Agency. The main objectives of CDC are pegged on protecting public safety and
health through the prevention and control of injury, diseases and disability at the national
levels (Abraham, 2007). CDC particularly directs its attention to the food borne pathogens,
infectious diseases, occupational health and safety, environmental health, injury prevention,
educational activities and in health promotion. CDC provides information and researches on
non-infectious diseases such as diabetes and obesity among others.
CDC has been sensitive on disease outbreaks, some of the outbreaks reported by CDC
identify with the West Nile Virus, H1N1 and SARS. This paper focuses at the SARS. SARS
stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Joseph et al, 2004). Findings argue that
SARS is a respiratory illness that is transmitted by a virus called Coronavirus. SARS-COV is
used to identify with SARS associated coronavirus. The disease first occurred in Asia in
February of 2003.
The spread of SARS was dramatic that it speared to South America, North America,
Asian nations, China and Europe among other nations; before the outbreak was contained

EPIDEMIOLOGY 2
(Abraham, 2007). The medical intervention was successful to an extent that there have been
no serious cases reported since 2003. National Select Agent Registry Program in 2012, 5 th
October categorized SARS as a select agent, in that SARS coronavirus has the capabilities
and potential of passing a severe threat to the safety and health of the public.
Investigation of SARS led to the discovery in SARS-COV in 2003, this was after
people were infected with the virus, that was unknown by then. Majority of people in
Southeast Asia were affected by the respiratory illness (Joseph et al, 2004). The spread of
SARS was among health care professionals, workplaces, family members and the society was
stinking with SARS. SARS spread across nations basing on the increased socialization and
globalization in the twenty first century. The common symptoms of SARS were sore throat,
high fever, coughs, chills and breath shortness. SARS led to massive deaths that threatened
the public health and safety (Abraham, 2007). Autopsy tissue specimens collected on SARS
cases were taken to Infectious Diseases Pathology Branch (IDPB) for further investigations.
The specimens were subjected to diverse tests, with inputs from different organizations
dealing with health. It was later classified as coronavirus. SARS-COV has assisted
researchers identifying similar outbreaks, hence developing mechanisms of mitigating
possible outbreaks (Stewart, 2004).
Investigating disease outbreak in carried out in order for the relevant authorities to
respond to any outbreaks by halting further outbreaks, preventing cases of illnesses,
managing similar outbreaks in the future, developing relevant recommendations, improving
public concerns on outbreaks, improving understanding of emerging and new disease
transmission mechanisms and agents and in aliasing with the international and local
organizations dealing with disease outbreaks (Joseph et al, 2004).
The first step is by developing outbreak contingencies, which is done through
outbreak plan development. Optimal detection of the disease is done through collection of

EPIDEMIOLOGY 3
relevant information by verifying the truth. Prevention levels can be done at the
local/regional/community levels, national level outbreaks and at the international level
outbreaks. SARS prevention and management was done at the national and international
levels, in that each and every nation was critical in managing the condition, while on the
international levels, organizations dealing with the disease outbreaks were actively involved
in the management of the outbreak (Abraham, 2007).
It has been noted that there are no confirmed medication protocol designed for SARS,
and that there are different approaches in place in dealing with the disease. Recommendations
forwarded by CDC indicated that people confirmed or suspected of suffering from SARS
should be administered to similar treatments as people suspected of having community
acquired pneumonia that is serious (Stewart, 2004). Patients must be isolated from other
people and subjected to aggressive treatments carried out in hospital settings. The
management of SARS calls for critical care treatments and mechanical ventilation, with the
medical teams staying alert on any possible outbreaks. The final step involves alerting the
local health agencies, state health agencies and the international health agencies like the
World Health Organization (WHO) and CDC among others (Stewart, 2004).
There is a criterion to be observed before the commencement of screening SARS.
SARS is an infectious disease, hence should be handled with care. Understanding the history
of the patient is critical before screening, this to know the possible diseases that the patient
might be carrying, it has been noted that screening constitutes application of medical tests
and procedures (Disease Screening – Statistics Teaching Tools, 2013). Screening defines the
likelihood of a particular disease. People with positive tests after screening are further
subjected to diagnostic procedures and tests.
Effectiveness of screening SARS is defined by the ability of the screening tests and
procedures tallying with the results of the diagnostic tests and procedures (Abraham, 2007).

EPIDEMIOLOGY 4
Screening is mainly carried out in reducing mortality and morbidity of people though
detecting possible diseases at the earlier stages, which makes it easy to treat SARS (Disease
Screening – Statistics Teaching Tools, 2013). Specificity and sensitivity are applied as
measures aligning the ability of the person as having or not having the disease, which in turn
defines the effectiveness of the screening program.

References

Abraham, T. (2007). Twenty-First Century Plague: The Story of SARS. Baltimore, Maryland:
The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Disease Screening – Statistics Teaching Tools. (2013).
Joseph, S. M. et al. (2004). The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. The New England
Journal of Medicine , 2431-2441.
Stewart, G. B. (2004). Diseases and Disorders – SARS. Farmington Hills, Michigan: Lucent
Books.

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