How to Investigate a Disease Outbreak
As a researcher, you must develop and use a clear method(s) as well as a logical system of investigation or search.
You should use adequate data in order to reveal factual information.
In order to reach your objective knowledge, you must have prior knowledge of the topic. You should not allow the results to be infected by long-cherished ideas and other people’s opinion.
It is impossible to do adequate research on a large topic. A clearly defined problem on a specific topic is the only one that we can solve adequately.
What is an Outbreak?
It is an occurrence of more cases of disease than expected in a given area among a specific group of people at a specific time or period.
It can come up as:
- A public health emergency.
- A Political emergency.
- An economic emergency.
- An unusual event.
- An event requiring rapid action.
- Surveillance failure.
- Control failure.
- An opportunity.
Objectives of Outbreak Investigation
- To control ongoing outbreaks.
- Preventing future outbreaks.
- Providing statutory mandated services.
- To strengthen surveillance at local level.
- Advancing knowledge about a disease.
- To provide training opportunities.
By definition, this is the process of anticipating, preventing, preparing for, detecting, responding and controlling outbreaks in order that health and economic impact is minimized.
Components of an Effective Outbreak Management.
Anticipation/Prediction – We do this so as to prevent epidemics.
Preparedness – To know when there’s a problem.
Rapid Investigation – Describing the event and identifying interventions.
Effective Response – To implement appropriate control measures.
Evaluation – Identifying what went right and wrong before and during the outbreak.
Specific Demands When Investigating Outbreaks.
- Unexpected event.
- Need to act quickly.
- Rapid control need.
- The need for interdisciplinary coordination.
- Work carried out in the field.
BASIC STEPS OF AN OUTBREAK INVESTIGATION.
First, we establish the existence of an outbreak.
Secondly, verifying the diagnosis
Thirdly, we do defining the case and counting cases.
Then, orientation of data follows; in terms of time, place and person.
We proceed by defining who is at risk of becoming ill.
Later, we develop a hypothesis.
The next step is comparing hypothesis with established facts.
Now, start planning a more systematic study.
Do preparation of a written report.
Finally, execute control and prevention measures.