Epidemiology

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Etymology

Late Latin epidemia + International Scientific Vocabulary -logy

"the study of what is upon the people", is derived from the Greek terms epi = upon, among; demos = people, district; logos = study, word, discourse; suggesting that it applies only to human populations. But the term is widely used in studies of zoological populations (veterinary epidemiology), although the term 'epizoology' is available, and it has also been applied to studies of plant populations (botanical epidemiology).

Definitions

  • 1 : a branch of medical science that deals with the incidence, distribution, and control of disease in a population
  • 2 : the sum of the factors controlling the presence or absence of a disease or pathogen

Description

Epidemiology is the study of factors affecting the health and illness of populations, and serves as the foundation and logic of interventions made in the interest of public health and preventive medicine. It is considered a cornerstone methodology of public health research, and is highly regarded in evidence-based medicine for identifying risk factors for disease and determining optimal treatment approaches to clinical practice. In the study of communicable and non-communicable diseases, the work of epidemiologists ranges from outbreak investigation to study design, data collection and analysis including the development of statistical models to test hypotheses and the documentation of results for submission to peer-reviewed journals. Epidemiologists also study the interaction of diseases in a population, a condition known as a syndemic. Epidemiologists rely on a number of other scientific disciplines, such as biology (to better understand disease processes), Geographic Information Science (to store data and map disease patterns) and social science disciplines (to better understand proximate and distal risk factors).[1]