Disease Outbreak Investigation
Subject areas: statistics, biology, environmental science, and social studies
Grade level: 10th-12th
Level of difficulty: low to moderate
Summary: Disease Outbreak Investigation illustrates what an epidemiologist does when investigating disease patterns. Using historical examples, the unit illustrates the steps by which analysis of patterns of disease occurrence leads to understanding of the spread and control of important diseases.
This unit comprises three lessons: the first lesson introduces students to a standard food-borne outbreak investigation; the second introduces students to the scientific investigations of cholera conducted by John Snow in the mid-19th century; and the third illustrates how environmental diseases are investigated, focusing on a leukemia cluster in Woburn, Massachusetts, which inspired the book, A Civil Action.