chapter  1
10 Pages

Epidemiology

WithEric Noji

Epidemiology, as classically defined, is the quantitative study of the distributions and determinants of health-related events in human populations. Disaster epidemiology evolved as a result of the increasing realisation that epidemiologic methods can be used in studying the effects that disasters have on the health of populations. The ultimate goal of disaster epidemiology is to prevent or reduce the adverse health consequences of the disaster itself, as well as to optimise the decisionmaking process associated with management of the relief effort. The success of epidemic investigation of a disaster can be measured directly by how rapidly data collected and analysed can identify prevention strategies and how effectively these strategies can be implemented by decision-makers to direct relief and decrease ongoing morbidity. In addition, surveillance of nutritional status and diseases of public health importance such as measles, malaria, diarrhoeal diseases, and acute respiratory infections, as well as diseases of epidemic potential such as hepatitis and meningitis should be conducted.