MGTA01H3 Lecture Notes - National Cancer Institute, Cholera, Built Environment
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September 12, 2013 - Lecture 2
Calgary flooding vs. third world country
The Study of (Human) Disease, Illness and Injury
• causes, manifestations, distribution and consequences... and the application of this
study to the control of health problems (public health)
• interactions of host, agent and environment
Epidemiology: a discipline that is relatively new
study of disease, illness and injury
Public health: functions to observe and collect data, but mainly to prevent
and control disease
Close relationship between humans and environment
- if you suffer from disease, you probably have an imbalance in the
relationship of human and environment
- malnourishment (immunity) -> disease
- Environment: overcrowding -> Incubation time: pathogen spreads faster
if incubation is short
THUS: it examines the biology and behaviour of humans (animals) (host) and
disease-causing pathogens (agents), as well as non-living and living environmental
factors (natural and cultural) influencing the development and manifestations of
• And applies this knowledge to deal with/the control of health issues
Descriptive(morbidity/mortality), theoretical (models), analytical (quantitative)
and applied (public health control / prevention)
‘Miasma’ and Cholera
• London, England
• 4 major cholera outbreaks in mid-19th C.
• Cholera: acute intestinal infection caused by bacterium Vibrio cholerae
• 600+ deaths in 1854
• John Snow
Morbidity: sickness ;
and mortality: death
• who is prone to a particular disease?
• when is the disease most likely to occur (including trends over time)
• where is the risk of disease highest/lowest?
• what exposure (factor) do its victims have in common?
• how much is the risk increased through exposure?
• how many cases of the disease could be avoided by eliminating the exposure?
Who gets what, where, and when
Analysis of vital statistics on morbidity and mortality
Large-scale population surveys and surveillance (CDC, WHO)
To determinewhether there is a statistical association between particular
characteristics and the development of a disease (risk, prevalence)
Sources of Data
• Censuses (population numbers and composition): which provide the
denominator, or the population at risk, for computing epidemiologic
• Vital Statistics: births/deaths(#andcauses)
• Disease Registries, e.g., National Cancer Institute
• Health Surveys: national, governmental
• Health Care Utilization Records: doctors’ records
• Supplemental Sources: media, insurance companies, work sites, police, schools,
• Anthropological Ethnographies
Puts more emphasis on the environment part of the triad
Disease Ecology Framework
• Interdisciplinary field that merges microbiology, ecology, genetics, geography,
medicine, mathematics and epidemiology to explore the relationships
between infectious disease agents, their animal and human hosts, and their