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Epidemiology and public health (ICM7096)

Module convener:         

Dr Albert Mifsud, albert.mifsud@phe.gov.uk              

This is a compulsory core module covering aspects of public health and communicable disease control.
After an introduction to practical epidemiology with special reference to clinical microbiology and infectious disease in the community, the module focuses on the relationship between the NHS, HPA, environmental health services and other relevant bodies in the UK.  The module also explores the worldwide public health issues which have implications for public health in the UK. The microbiology and legal aspects of food and water borne infections are also included within this module.

The module aims to provide:

  • An introduction to epidemiology including study design
  • An overview of the role of the clinical microbiology laboratory and the clinical microbiologist in the control of communicable disease within the UK including an understanding of the other agencies in the UK (e.g. NHS, HPA, environmental health services and councils) and the interaction required between clinical microbiology and these agencies for continued good public health.
  • An introduction to the principles of outbreak investigation and control including look back.
  • An understanding of the role of the microbiology laboratory in the quality assurance of food and water in the UK and the current legislation and guidelines on microbiological testing of food and water.
  • An awareness of worldwide infectious disease and implications for public health and communicable disease control in the UK in relation to visitors to the UK and UK residents travelling overseas
  • An overview of the role of vaccination in communicable disease control within the UK.
  • An understanding of the threat of bioterrorism in the UK, possible agents and the role of the clinical microbiology in control of such an event.

          

At the end of this module students will be able to:

  • Design an epidemiological survey including a patient questionnaire.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the roles of the other agencies in the UK (e.g. NHS, HPA, environmental health services and councils) in communicable disease control. Students should be able to identify their role within communicable disease control and be able to interact professionally with other agencies.
  • Recognise an outbreak situation, establish relevant investigations and control procedures. Students will be able to communicate effectively with journalists to enable accurate and relevant information about an outbreak and control procedures to be relayed to the public. Students will be able to complete a look back exercise.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the role of the microbiology laboratory in the quality assurance of food and water in the UK and the current legislation and guidelines on microbiological testing of food and water.
  • Locate up to date, relevant information about infectious diseases overseas from appropriate sources including HPA, CCDC and WHO. Explain the use of vaccination and prophylaxis for travellers from the UK. Demonstrate an understanding of specialist public health issues of immigrants to the UK.
  • Explain the current UK routine vaccination schedule and to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of current vaccinations.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the threat of bioterrorism in the UK, possible agents and the role of the clinical microbiology in control of such an event.

Students are expected to develop a strong basic background from text books but this must be supplemented by research in current scientific literature.

Suggested background texts include:
Webber: Communicable Disease, epidemiology and Control
or
Hawker et al: Communicable Disease Control Handbook

Roberts and Greenwood: Practical Food Microbiology

Suggested journals include:
Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease

Public Health Information

To develop your skills communicating with patients and the general public you will be asked to produce either a press release or a patient information leaflet about a selected topic in public health. This is a formative Multiple Choice Question assessment.

End of module written assessment

This is an end of module exam paper taken at the end of the module.
Type of assessment: Coursework
Duration: 2 hours
Percentage weighting in module: 100%

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