Disease outbreak response: why epidemiology plays a central role


R. Avigad, J. Ellis-Iversen, J. Gibbens, R. Hepple & A. Paterson

The rationale for controlling transboundary animal disease outbreaks and the need for evidence-based decisions regarding which control measures to implement is widely recognised. Key data and information are required to inform this evidence base. To ensure effective communication of the evidence, a rapid process of collation, interpretation and translation is required. This paper describes how epidemiology can provide the framework through which relevant specialists can be engaged to this end, and the central role of epidemiologists, with their unique combination of skills, in this process. It provides an example of the National Emergency Epidemiology Group of the United Kingdom that was established to address this need. It then goes on to consider the different strands of epidemiology, the requirements for a wide multi-disciplinary approach, and the importance of training and preparedness activities to facilitate rapid response.

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