As part of your systematic review of a micro-organism species or group of species (e.g. Enterobacteriaceae) , knowledge about the ‘epidemiology‘ is essential, the second element in the ORGANISM knowledge proforma.
“Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states or events in specified populations, and the application of this study to the control of health problems.” [ref1]
In your reading or when asked during a viva examination to “describe the epidemiology” of an organism or disease, concern yourself with a few basic questions- always a lot to say about most bugs! :
- What disease(s) does it cause? What are the reservoirs of the organism? – human, animal, environmental etc
- Who (age, sex) gets colonised ? Who gets infected? Natural history of colonisation and disease.
- Where – geographical determinants,
- When – Are there seasonal differences in disease incidence?
- Why/how- how is it transmitted? Is it an obligate pathogen or an opportunist? Risk factors for disease – immune status, healthcare exposure etc
For an excellent online course see the self learning package from CDC (USA). Knowledge of epidemiology is essential for pathologists, physicians and others.
- Last JM, editor. Dictionary of epidemiology. 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press; 2001. p. 61.