Epidemiology of Epidemics

Subject VETS50006 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

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

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Approximately 10-14 hours per week over an 8-week period
Total Time Commitment:

Approximately 112 hours per semester

Prerequisites: None


Recommended Background Knowledge:
Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

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 may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability

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.

Learning Outcomes:

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. Students will be required to arrange an appropriate venue (e.g. a nearby university) to sit this assessment under supervised examination conditions.

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.

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 Public Health
Master of Science (Epidemiology)
Master of Veterinary Public Health (Emergency Animal Diseases)
Postgraduate Certificate in Veterinary Public Health (EAD)
Postgraduate Diploma in Veterinary Public Health (EAD)

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