Epidemiology of Epidemics

Subject VETS50006 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 5 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

February, Parkville - Taught online/distance.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 01-Feb-2016 to 25-Mar-2016
Assessment Period End 08-Apr-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Feb-2016
Census Date 19-Feb-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 18-Mar-2016

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:

170 hours

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


Dr Simon Firestone


Email: vet-publichealth@unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:

Animal disease epidemics have many unique epidemiological features, most obviously a potential for a high rate of transmission in fully susceptible populations. This expresses itself as an “epidemic curve” where the number of reported cases increases rapidly until control measures become effective, followed by 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 subject 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 detailed studies of epidemics in later subjects in Emergency Animal Diseases (VETS50007, VETS50008, VETS50009, VETS50010).

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
  • 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, a group assignment in approximately Week 5 and final written exam in approximately Week 9 or 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 held during semester worth 15%
  • A group assignment of 4000 words due in approximately Week 5 worth 25%
  • A written two-hour final exam held in approximately Week 9 or 10 worth 60%
Prescribed Texts:

Thrusfield, M. (2005). Veterinary Epidemiology 3rd edition. Blackwell Science, Oxford.

E-book and hard copy available through UoM library.

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
  • 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): Graduate Certificate in Veterinary Public Health (EAD)
Graduate Diploma in Veterinary Public Health (EAD)
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)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Conservation and Restoration
Tailored Specialisation

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