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Describe and Orient the Data in Terms of Time, Place, Person - Descriptive Epidemiology

  1. Time, Place and Person - describes disease of health situation
    • TIME - Epidemic Curve or Epi Curve (begin early and update often) - a histogram showing the course of the disease or outbreak to identify the source of the exposure (x axis = units of time equal to 1/4 to 1/3 incubation time and y axis = # of cases). Note: a single point or source will have only one peak, a plateau will show a continuous common source, several uniform peaks will indicate a propagated outbreak spreak from person to person.
    • PLACE - geographic extent plus spot map of cases to identify groups specific to a location or environmental factors
    • PERSON - identify the affected population by type of person or by exposures as age, sex, high risk exposure as with AIDS
  2. Types of Descriptive Studies - Study the distribution of a problem by cases or outcome, frequency in population, exposure, time pattern or environmental factor. (Studies without a control group can be used for descriptive purposes!)
  • Case report / case series: case report = detail report of a single patient from one or more doctors while case series = characteristics of several patients
  • Correlative studies : correlates general characteristics of the population withhealth problem frequency with several groups during the same period of tim
    • Time series analysis - correlate within the same population at different points in time
    • Ecologic relations - correlate relative to specific ecologic factors such as diet
  • Cross sectional : a survey of a population where participants are selected irrespective of exposure or disease status.

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