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


an unexpectedly large number of case of an illness, specific health related behavior, or other health related event in a particular population.

endemic disease

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


one who practices epidemiology


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


people afflicted with a disease


the number of events that occur ina given population in a given period of time

natality (birth) rate

the number of live births divided by the 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 or 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 population.

acute disease

a disease that lasts three months or less.

prevalence rates

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. most useful for health care professionals

chronic disease

a disease or health condition that lasts longer than three 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 hte denominator includes the total population

crude birth rate

the number of life births per 1,000 in a population in a given period of time.

crude death rate (CDR)


age adjusted rate

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

specific rates

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

cause specific mortality rate (CSMR)

the death rate due to a particular disease.

case fatality rate (CFR)

the percentage of cases of a particular disease that result in death.

proportionate mortality rate (PMR)

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

notifiable diseases

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

National Electronic Telecommunications System (NETS)

the electronic reporting system used by state health departments and the CDC.

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 (YPLL)

the number of years lost when death occurs before the age of 65 or 75 (prematurely).

disability adjusted life years (DALYs)

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

Health adjusted life expectancy (HALE)

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

vital statistics

statistical summaries of records of major life events such as births, deaths, marriages, divorces, and infant deaths.

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