Communicable Disease Epidemiology, Prevention and Control

Course Number
5400 (Epidemiology)
Course Instructor(s)
Paul Arora, Shelly Bolotin

Course Description

The course is designed to build skills and knowledge in three areas:

  • (i) core concepts in infectious diseases (e.g., transmissibility, immunity);
  • (ii) substantive knowledge of diseases (pathogens, syndromes); and
  • (iii) skills (especially analytical skills) that you may need as a practicing epidemiologist in future.

Consequently, we will divide most sessions into three parts:

  • (i) a first, didactic lecture, where we’ll give a broad overview of the issue of interest;
  • (ii) a case-based exercise, where we’ll work through a real-world example of the issue we are studying, and
  • (iii) a hands-on analytic exercise where you’ll practice applying your epidemiological skills to real or simulated infectious disease data.

To further keep our course anchored in the real world, we’ll begin most sessions with a student-led discussion of a “hot” infectious disease issue identified using ProMED, HealthMap, the Canadian Communicable Disease Report (CCDR), the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), or Eurosurveillance.

We’ll assign students to lead these discussions and identify discussion topics each week.

Course Objectives

  • Students will develop a broad knowledge of key pathogens and infectious syndromes of public health importance, their clinical and microbiological manifestations and characteristics, their classification, and basic approaches to their control.
  • Students will understand core concepts necessary for the description and evaluation of infectious processes, including the nature and definition of outbreaks, epidemics, and endemic disease spread; incubation, latency, and carriage; reproductive numbers; immunity; nosocomial infection; and emergence of disease, particularly as it relates to zoonotic threats and the “One Health” paradigm.
  • Students will develop a quantitative and analytic skill set related to the measurement and control of infectious diseases, including basic aspects of outbreak documentation and investigation (including case-control studies); principles of infectious disease surveillance (including analysis of rates and counts); understanding of laboratory aspects of infectious disease epidemiology including changing test technologies and seroprevalence data; and basic elements of transmission modeling of infectious diseases.
  • Students will gain familiarity with tools and resources used by public health professionals seeking to remain abreast of the rapidly changing world of infectious diseases; these include the ProMED system, GPHIN, tools, and HealthMap.

General Requirements

  • Introduction to Epidemiology and Introduction to Biostatistics I

Pre/Co-Requisite Courses