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PH Logo Disease Detectives


photo:  microscopic image bacteriaWhy are Disease Detectives important?
Disease Detectives, or Epidemiologists, identify infectious diseases that are making people sick in the community.  They can help prevent lots of people from getting sick by making recommendations on how to avoid disease and stay healthy.

Who do Epidemiologists work with?
Epidemiologists work with health care providers to track the spread of disease in a community.  This practice helps determine who in the community might be most at risk of catching a disease.  Epidemiologists also share their knowledge about disease symptoms, disease transmission and recommended prevention methods with public health nurses, health educators and communications experts who then share information with people in the community. 

How do Epidemiologists track a disease?
Epidemiologists conduct disease surveillance by investigating individual cases of disease.  A disease investigation might include interviewing the sick person, their family, friends and the health care professionals working on the case.  They are seeking information that can help them stop the transmission of disease to others in the community.   


Disease Control
To stop a disease from spreading by finding the source of the outbreak, and using practices like removing an ill person from a workplace or school, and providing preventive medicine or vaccines to people who may have been exposed.

Disease Outbreak
A sudden increase in the occurrence of a disease in the community.

Disease Surveillance
Keeping track of diseases in the community and collecting information on who those diseases are affecting.

The study of how diseases are distributed in population groups rather than individuals, through analyzing disease surveillance data.

Infectious Disease
A disease that is spread in various ways between people or between animals and people.

Defining the disease problem, gathering information about the disease and affected individuals and analyzing the data to make recommendations about disease control, treatment and prevention.

To stop a disease from starting or spreading with practices including good handwashing, providing clean drinking water or providing vaccinations.

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