Internal Medicine and Epidemiology

Epidemiology is the study of the patterns and causes, effects of health and disease conditions in defined populations. Epidemiology is the cornerstone of public health, and shapes policy decisions and evidence based practice by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive healthcare. Epidemiologists help with study design, collection, and statistical analysis of data, and interpretation and dissemination of results (including peer review and occasional systematic review). Epidemiology has helped develop methodology used in clinical research, public health studies, and, to a lesser extent, basic research in the biological sciences

Major areas of epidemiological study include disease aetiology, transmission, outbreak investigation, disease surveillance and screening, biomonitoring, and comparisons of treatment effects such as in clinical trials. Epidemiologists rely on other scientific disciplines like biology to better understand disease processes, statistics to make efficient use of the data and draw appropriate conclusions, social sciences to better understand proximate and distal causes, and engineering for exposure assessment.

In the late 20th century, with advancement of biomedical sciences, a number of molecular markers in blood, other bio specimens and environment were identified as predictors of development or risk of a certain disease. The Greek physician Hippocrates, known as the father of medicine, sought logic to sickness; he is the first person known to have examined the relationships between the occurrence of disease and environmental influences. He coined the terms endemic (for diseases usually found in some places but not in others) and epidemic (for diseases that are seen at some times but not others).

The epidemic breakthrough Zika virus is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes .People with Zika virus disease usually have a mild fever, and a skin rash. A strong link between Zika virus and microcephaly is suspected and currently being investigated. Microcephaly is a condition where a baby is born with a small head or the head stops growing after birth. Babies born with microcephaly may develop convulsions and suffer physical and learning disabilities as they grow older.

Zika virus is an emerging mosquito-borne virus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in rhesus monkeys through a monitoring network of sylvatic yellow fever. It was subsequently identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. Outbreaks of Zika virus disease have been recorded in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.

  • Avian influenza
  • Cholera
  • Coronaviruses (MERS-CoV, SARS)
  • Emerging diseases (e.g. nodding disease)
  • Ebola virus disease
  • Hendra virus infection
  • Influenza (seasonal, pandemic)
  • Leptospirosis
  • Meningitis
  • Nipah virus infection
  • Plague
  • Rift Valley fever
  • Tularaemia
  • Viral haemorrhagic fevers (Ebola, Marburg, Lassa, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, etc.)
  • Yellow fever

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