Epidemiology Is The Branch Of Medicine

Good Essays

Epidemiology is the branch of medicine that deals with the incidence, distribution, and possible control of diseases and other factors relating to health (Schneider, 8). In 1847, a Viennese obstetrician by the name of Ignac Semmelweis discovered the importance of handwashing in a hospital setting (Gawande, 15). Before the discovery of antibiotics, childbed fever was the number one cause of maternal death in childbirth. Semmelweis realized by not washing their hands, doctors were the ones responsible for carrying the bacteria that caused the fever from mother to mother. After implementing strict hand washing rules the death rate of mothers decreased from 20% to 1% almost overnight (Gawande, 15). Discoveries like the one …show more content…

Scientists have yet to discover what exactly causes BSE but the leading theory is that it is caused by prions--infectious agents made entirely out of protein that are usually found in the brain and spinal cord and can only currently be treated if caught before symptoms arise. Humans that eat infected meat may be infected with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease which causes brain lesions that ultimately kill the infected.
Another important function of epidemiology is the control of disease. Epidemiologists are tasked with researching and creating vaccines. A vaccine is a substance used to kickstart the production of antibodies and help build a resistance to one or several diseases, created from a part of the existing disease or a man-made substance. To create the vaccines scientists have to do thousands of hours of research and testing. There are many different types of vaccines; some deactivate the disease, some weaken it, and some even use a piece of the bacteria or virus to counteract its ill effects. If a vaccine cannot be found epidemiologists can use the factors that facilitate the transmission of the disease-also known as determinants of the disease- ,such as where it is spreading and the medium it uses to travel , to keep it from spreading. An example of a disease without a vaccine but with clear determinants is HIV.
Epidemiologist do not only work with diseases that are infectious they also work with chronic

Get Access
Get Access