WEEK 3 DISCUSSION 3 by Julie Hamilton – Wednesday, January 5, 2022, 1:52 PM Numb

by | Jan 15, 2022 | Other | 0 comments

by Julie Hamilton – Wednesday, January 5, 2022, 1:52 PM
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Steps of an Outbreak Investigation
Once the decision to conduct a field investigation of an acute outbreak has been made, working quickly is essential as is getting the right answer. In other words, epidemiologists cannot afford to conduct an investigation that is “quick and dirty.” They must conduct investigations that are “quick and clean. This means we would need to come up with a plan really quick to get the situation sustained and controlled. Prepare for field work
Establish the existence of an outbreak
Verify the diagnosis
Construct a working case definition
Find cases systematically and record information
Perform descriiptive epidemiology
Develop hypotheses
Evaluate hypotheses epidemiologically
As necessary, reconsider, refine, and re-evaluate hypotheses
Compare and reconcile with laboratory and/or environmental studies
Implement control and prevention measures
Initiate or maintain surveillance
Communicate findings
As a field investigator, you must have the appropriate scientific knowledge, supplies, and equipment to carry out the investigation before departing for the field. Discuss the situation with someone knowledgeable about the disease and about field investigations, and review the applicable literature. In previous similar outbreaks, what have been the sources, modes of transmission, and risk factors for the disease? Assemble useful references such as journal articles and sample questionnaires.
Before leaving for a field investigation, consult laboratory staff to ensure that you take the proper laboratory material and know the proper collection, storage, and transportation techniques. By talking with the laboratory staff you are also informing them about the outbreak, and they can anticipate what type of laboratory resources will be needed.
You also need to know what supplies or equipment to bring to protect yourself. Some outbreak investigations require no special equipment while an investigation of SARS or Ebola hemorrhagic fever may require personal protective equipment such as masks, gowns, and gloves.
Finally, before departing, you should have a plan of action. What are the objectives of this investigation, i.e., what are you trying to accomplish? What will you do first, second, and third? Having a plan of action upon which everyone agrees will allow you to “hit the ground running” and avoid delays resulting from misunderstandings.


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