Chapter

Epidemiology and biostatistics

Nizam Damani

in Manual of Infection Prevention and Control

Third edition

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199698356
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191732126 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199698356.003.0005
Epidemiology and biostatistics

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This chapter discusses epidemiology and biostatistics. Epidemiology is defined as ‘the study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states, conditions, or events in specified populations and the application of the results of this study to the control of health problems’. There are two major categories of epidemiological studies: experimental and observational. In experimental studies, the investigator controls the exposures to specific factors and then follows the subjects to determine the effect of the exposure, e.g., a clinical trial of a new drug. In observational studies, the group being compared is already defined and the investigator merely observes what happens. It is also important that those responsible for implementing infection prevention and control and quality management programmes are familiar with statistical measures. Basic statistical methods can be used to organize, summarize, and analyse data to determine if there are trends or associations in observations. Numerous computer databases and statistical programs are available and these have virtually eliminated the need to calculate complicated mathematical formulas by hand or by using a hand-held calculator.

Keywords: infection prevention and control; epidemiological studies; statistical measures; experimental studies; observational studies

Chapter.  5485 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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