epidemic investigation

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A set of procedures to identify the cause, i.e., responsible agent, affected persons, circumstances and mode of spread, and other relevant factors involved in propagating an epidemic, especially one with unusual features and one that is not self-limiting and presents a significant threat to public health. Investigation may require deployment of personnel and resources to identify the index case, ask questions about exposure of both cases and noncases in the affected community, conduct microbiological tests, etc. In epidemics affecting large numbers and in dangerous life-threatening epidemics, especially with exotic and unfamiliar pathogens, this may be a fast or a protracted process, but it may be accelerated by rapid epidemiological assessment.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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