Epidemiology of Epidemics

Subject VETS50006 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 5 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught online/distance.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

This subject is delivered on-line.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Approximately 10-14 hours per week over an 8-week period
Total Time Commitment: Approximately 112 hours per semester
Prerequisites: Entry into the Master of Veterinary Public Health (Emergency Animal Diseases)
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: Information learned in the prior modules of this course
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability will impact on their academic performance are encouraged to discuss this matter with the Subject Coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Prof Colin Wilks


Stephanie Morrison-Duff
Research and Graduate Studies Manager
Faculty of Veterinary Science
University of Melbourne
Victoria 3010
+61 (0)3 8344 0357
Subject Overview:

Animal disease epidemics have many unique epidemiological features, most obviously a potential for a high rate of transmission in a fully susceptible populations. This expresses itself as an “epidemic curve” where number of reported cases increase rapidly until control measures become effective, and then a gradual decline. Thus animal disease managers are faced with a series of common problems when dealing with epidemics, including developing and/or interpreting epidemic models, implementing field procedures to diagnostic test systems for rapid diagnosis and undertaking freedom from disease surveys.

This module will use online lecture notes and study materials to provide students with an overview of the epidemiology of animal disease epidemics, which will be reinforced with the detailed studies of epidemics in Modules 5, 7, 9 and 11.

Objectives: On completion of this subject, students will have gained:
• a basic understanding of the generalised course of animal disease epidemics in fully susceptible populations;
• an overview of the main epidemiological questions faced by animal disease control managers during an epidemic; and
• a basic understanding of the main epidemiological tools and techniques to be used during an epidemic (e.g. modelling, GIS, etc.).

Students will be assessed for participation in weekly forum discussions, group assignment in week 5 and final written exam in week 9 and 10. You will be required to identify a university near you where you can be supervised while sitting the exam.

The assessment components of this subject are:

  • Participation in online forum discussions (15%)
  • Group assignment of 4000 words (25%)
  • Written 2-hour final exam (60%)
Prescribed Texts: M. Thrusfield (2005). _Veterinary Epidemiology_ (3rd ed). Blackwell Science, Oxford.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: On completion of this subject, students should have developed their:
• ability to understand the main epidemiological problems faced by animal disease control managers; and
• ability to use the literature describing historical animal disease epidemics.
Notes: Reliable internet access with at least a medium speed connection and a personal computer are essential for undertaking this online program. The content is accessed through your web browser. Microsoft Office™ and Adobe Acrobat Reader or equivalent software packages are necessary for assessment tasks, assignments and some class exercises.
Related Course(s): Master of Veterinary Public Health (Emergency Animal Diseases)

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