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study of the distribution and determinants of health related states or events in specified populations


an unexpectedly large number of cases of an illness, specific health related behavior, or other health related event in a particular pop

endemic disease

a disease that occurs regularly in a population as a matter of course


an outbreak of disease over a wide geographical area such as a continent


people afflicted with a disease

natality rate

the number of live births divided by the total population

morbidity rate

the rate of illness in a population

mortality rate

the number of deaths in a population divided by the total population

population at risk

those in the population who are susceptible to a particular disease of condition

incidence rate

the number of new health related events or cases of a disease in a population exposed to that risk during a particular period of time, divided by the total number in that same pop

acute disease

a disease that lasts three months or less

prevalence rate

the number of new and old cases of a disease in a population in a given period of time, divided by the total number in that population

chronic disease

a disease or health condition that lasts longer than 3 months

attack rate

an incidence rate calculated for a particular population for a single disease outbreak and expressed as a percentage

crude rate

a rate in which the denominator includes the total population

crude birth rate

the number of live births per 1,000 in a given period of time

crude death rate

the number of deaths per 1,000 in a population in a given period of time

age-adjusted rate

rate used to make comparisons of relative risks across groups and over time when groups differ in age structure

specific rate

a rate that measures morbidity or mortality for particular populations or diseases

cause-specific mortality rate

the death rate due to a particular disease

case fatality rate

the percentage of cases of particular disease that result in death

proportionate mortality ratio

the percentage of overall mortality in a population that is attributable to a particular disease

notifiable diseases

infectious diseases for which health officials request or require reporting for public health reasons

life expectancy

the average number of years a person from a specific cohort is projected to live from a given point in time

years of potential life lost

the number of years lost when death occurs before the age of 65 or 75

disability-adjusted life years

a measure for the burden of disease that takes into account premature death and loss of healthy life resulting from a disability

health-adjusted life expectancy

the number of years of healthy life expected, on average, in a given population

descriptive study

an epidemiological study that describes an epidemic with respect to person, place, and time

epidemic curve

a graphic display of the cases of disease according to the time or date of onset of symptoms

point source epidemic curve

an epidemic curve depicting a distribution of cases that all can be traced to a single source of exposure

incubation period

the period between exposure to a disease and the onset of symptoms

propagated epidemic curve

an epidemic curve depicting a distribution of cases traceable to multiple sources of exposure

analytic study

an epidemiological study aimed at testing hypotheses

risk factors

factors that increase the probability of disease, injury, or death

case/control study

a study that seeks to compare those diagnosed with a disease with those who do not have the disease for prior exposure to specific risk factors

cohort study

an epidemiological study in which a cohort is classified by exposure to one or more specific risk factors and observed to determine the rates at which disease develops in each class


a group of people who share some important demographic characteristic

odds ratio

a probability statement about the association between a particular disease and a specific risk factor, resulting from a case/control study

relative risk

a statement of the relationship between the risk of acquiring a disease when a specific risk factor is present and the risk of acquiring that same disease when the risk factor is absent

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