What is Epidemiology?
Epidemiology, which is the science of public health, is the study of the distribution and causation of diseases and health-related conditions within specific populations. Epidemiology is based on the assumptions that:
- Human disease does not occur at random
- Factors that cause disease can be identified
What is it used for?
Epidemiology is used to promote and protect health. It is used to identify specific factors that influence the distribution of disease which can be targeted with control methods. Outbreaks and single case investigations both use epidemiological methods to help identify a cause of the disease, help with implementing control measures, and prevent the disease from occurring any further.
Epidemiology led to the 1964 U.S. Surgeon General findings that there was proof beyond reasonable doubt that cigarette smoking caused lung cancer years before their were any clear understandings of the physiologic effects of tobacco.
What do we do?
The epidemiology department at Jefferson County Health Department monitors and assesses the health of its residents through analysis and investigation of historical case reports, emergency room data, active and passive surveillance, and other data sources. This information allows the health department to identify issues specific to Jefferson County and focus its efforts to help improve health.
Information related to the health of the county will be coming soon.