Introduction: An Epidemic of Blindness in Young Children

Thomas D. Koepsell and Noel S. Weiss

in Epidemiologic Methods

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780195150780
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199865161 | DOI:
 Introduction: An Epidemic of Blindness in Young Children

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This chapter attempts to illustrate the value of information gained from studying variations in disease frequency in human populations using the story of a real disease outbreak in the 1940s involving retrolental fibroplasia (RLF). Epidemiologic research occupies center stage in this episode of medical history, enabling relatively rapid recognition of an important cause of disease that stemmed directly from the actions of well-meaning physicians. Among other lessons, the history of RLF suggests that some kinds of research should have greater impact than others on our beliefs and actions.

Keywords: retrolental fibroplasia; disease outbreak; epidemiology; rapid recognition

Chapter.  5565 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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