EPIDEMIOLOGY PAPER NRS 428
The rates and the occurrences of diseases among populations serve as an important aspect of exploration in the field of nursing. Knowledge about the patterns of infections not only improve intervention but also provides a platform to optimize quality of care to patients. Often, the health of populations in a given locale depends on several factors. It is imperative to describe the health status of the population as well as identify risk factors in addition to analyze the relationships between health and hazardous agents potential in causing diseases (Evans‐Agnew et al., 2017). The field of epidemiology fills this void by monitoring, investigating as well as evaluating the patterns of occurrences of different diseases within the public health systems. Particularly, the concepts of descriptive epidemiology provide an in-depth analysis of disease patterns and therefore forms the topic for this study.
Descriptive Epidemiology and its Relationship and Role in Nursing Science Today
Descriptive epidemiology is concerned with the description of the distributions and the determinants of diseases. The field delves into an elaboration about the patterns of organization and the analysis of data to describe variations as well as the frequency of diseases among populations. Essentially, according to Bach et al. (2017), descriptive epidemiology is based on a measure of incidence and prevalence rates of diseases so as to provide fundamental information key in health policy decisions. This type of epidemiology also serves special tasks especially in the field of nursing science. Specifically, descriptive epidemiology guides in the identification of emerging health problems. It also serves in the reporting as well as monitoring the patterns of behavior linked to these conditions among selected populations. Additionally, investigations and evaluations of the disease occurrences help policymakers in the field of public health to lay down priorities of care for the population at risk of a condition. Through descriptive epidemiology, a hypothesis can be derived to generate possible explanations related to the potential determinants of a given disease that affects a population under study. The rates and occurrences of emerging diseases are one of the crucial aspects in the field of public health. Specifically, descriptive epidemiology can provide an alert about potential bioterrorism threats that might pose a health risk to a selected population. Nonetheless, descriptive epidemiology provides a benchmark to measure and analyze the efficiency of a given health intervention program.
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As a descriptive study, this type of epidemiology avails data that can be used for the prevention of a given illness through the design of a suitable intervention strategy. Besides, the field lays a platform for additional research on the prevention and management of an emergent disease. This is evident when the field is used to identify problems through analytic methods and therefore can be used to suggest specific areas that might prove fruitful for future investigations (Evans‐Agnew et al., 2017). In order to provide concrete evidence about the morbidity patterns of different illnesses, descriptive epidemiology mainly classifies disease occurrences according to person, time and place. The data compiled is of immense value to nursing science today as it provides a detailed account about the health of a given population. With this information, descriptive analysis can be generated from tables, maps or graphical representations.
Occurrences of disease are influenced by the type of person. Descriptive epidemiology explores the latter in terms of age, sex, race, and socioeconomic status. Besides, the analysis is also made based on biological factors as well as the state of physical activities in addition to the living conditions of the populations. Age is an important aspect of a person as it influences the patterns of health. Infants and the elderly are more susceptible to diseases as opposed to other age-sets.
The aspect characterizes cyclic fluctuations, secular trends and the points of an epidemic of specific illnesses under study. The discipline of nursing sciences uses descriptive epidemiology to analyze the occurrence of diseases based on time. From the analysis, it is apparent that some disease conditions occur regularly and therefore can be predictable within a given timeframe. However, some infections are temporal and they may occur unpredictably among a selected population under study (Bach et al., 2017). Diseases that occur in seasons allow nurses to predict the patterns of their manifestations and this helps to formulate interventions in a target population.
The aspect relates to the location of a study population. It may encompass spatial clustering, urban, rural, regional or international setting of a person. Findings by Frérot et al., (2018) affirm that patterns of disease occurrences are influenced by habitation or area of residence of a person. Descriptive epidemiology characterizes a disease based on a place by focusing on the relevant geographical location in which the condition is prevalent. The premise guides the selection of relevant intervention strategies to control the spread of the disease to other regions.
Contemporary Example of how Descriptive Epidemiology is applied in Public Health Nursing
Descriptive epidemiology examines the patterns and the frequency of various disease conditions. The investigations about the causes are vital in public health nursing as it provides relevant data that guide in the selection of an intervention strategy. As a discipline in public health nursing, descriptive epidemiology delivers information that can be used to promote community health and device active initiatives to support the lives of a populace at risk of a given disease (Tripathy, 2016). In the treatment process, public health nurses need to identify creative approaches that can optimize patient care by focusing on the evidence-based scientific modalities to guide on a decision of health service delivery. Descriptive epidemiology fills the void by evaluating the trends of health service delivery and compares the same with the patterns of disease occurrences.
Descriptive epidemiology is consistent with the Three Cs Lydia Hall’s theory of nursing. The theory defines nurses as key participants in patient care. As per the three Cs of the theory, nurses are concerned with the aspect of care while the core and cure concepts are shared with other cadres of health (Johnson et al., 2017). In other words, the concept of descriptive epidemiology provides insights on the treatment and prevention of disease which gives the process of care a team approach as it involves contributions from all stakeholders. However, information on the current methods of care is derived from research analysis organized through consistent studies in epidemiology. A typical example of descriptive epidemiology in the field of public health nursing can be interpreted through an analysis of tuberculosis (TB) condition.
TB is a serious infectious mainly localized in the lungs. The condition is a respiratory disease predominantly transmitted through aerosols when an infected person coughs, spits or sneezes. By the end of the twentieth century, TB was among the killer diseases in the United States of America. However, throughout time, comprehensive tests and tracking of the condition have led to effective management of the ailment which emerges as one of the diseases of public health concern in the world today (Guta et al., 2014). Through descriptive epidemiology, the symptoms of the condition have been identified, monitored and reported. Besides, the causative agents and the means of transmission have been analyzed to provide a framework of control. Nonetheless, the at-risk population especially those with immune-deficiency disorders have been identified among different populations of the world. With this information, targeted intervention has been undertaken to curb the menace among the at-risk population (Km et al., 2018). Moreover, descriptive epidemiology has guided on the selection of prevention measures to control the spread of the infection. Through descriptive epidemiology, “lessons learned” about TB have been identified among the at-risk populations and these have provided new information on how to control the spread of the infection.
Epidemiology Components used to analyze at-risk Populations
The population at risk of a health condition provides an integral part of epidemiological study. Several components of epidemiology need to be considered during the analysis of the at-risk population. One of the crucial components points to the study participants as determined by the sample size (Tripathy, 2016). The number of the subjects for a given epidemiology research guides in the interpretation of the demographic data. It also helps in the monitoring of characteristics of subjects.
Exposure assessment as the other component focuses on the environmental aspects that predispose a population to a given health risk. This entails the analysis of the quality of exposures to validate the occurrence of a condition. Outcome assessment, on the other hand, remains a vital component to analyze the results of the exposure to a specific agent of a disease (Frérot et al., 2018). The findings guides in the selection of intervention strategies. Assessment of the strength of evidence is another component that guides in the evaluation of exposure to causative agents.
Bach, M., Jordan, S., Hartung, S., Santos-Hövener, C., & Wright, M. T. (2017). Participatory epidemiology: the contribution of participatory research to epidemiology. Emerging themes in epidemiology, 14(1), 2. DOI:10.1186/s12982-017-0056-4.10.02.2017
Evans‐Agnew, R., Reyes, D., Primomo, J., Meyer, K., & Matlock‐Hightower, C. (2017). Community health needs assessments: Expanding the boundaries of nursing education in population health. Public Health Nursing, 34(1), 69-77. DOI:10.1111/phn.12298/29.09.2016.
Frérot, M., Lefebvre, A., Aho, S., Callier, P., Astruc, K., & Glele, L. S. A. (2018). What is epidemiology? Changing definitions of epidemiology 1978-2017. PloS one, 13(12), e0208442. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0208442. 10.12.2018
Guta, S., Casal, J., Napp, S., Saez, J. L., Garcia-Saenz, A., De Val, B. P., … & Allepuz, A. (2014). Epidemiological investigation of bovine tuberculosis herd breakdowns in Spain 2009/2011. PLoS One, 9(8), e104383. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0104383/14.08.2014.
Johnson, E. M., Jones, K., Eathington, P., Howard, C., Raszewski, R., & Twigg, N. M. (2017). NE x T: creating an interdisciplinary alliance to diminish informational barriers for public health nursing. Health Information & Libraries Journal, 34(3), 236-246. DOI:10.1111/hir.12184.25.06.2017
Km, J. P. K., Indah, T., Tamalanrea, T. I., Tamalanrea, K., & Tamalanrea, T. I. (2018). Spatial Pattern and Risking Factors of Tuberculosis Disease Occurrence in Barru Regency. DOI: 10.1145/3242789.3242824/08.07.2018.
Write a paper (2,000-2,500 words) in which you apply the concepts of epidemiology and nursing research to a communicable disease. Refer to “Communicable Disease Chain,” “Chain of Infection,” and the CDC website for assistance when completing this assignment.
Communicable Disease Selection
- Hepatitis B
Epidemiology Paper Requirements
- Describe the chosen communicable disease, including causes, symptoms, mode of transmission, complications, treatment, and the demographic of interest (mortality, morbidity, incidence, and prevalence). Is this a reportable disease? If so, provide details about reporting time, whom to report to, etc.
- Describe the social determinants of health and explain how those factors contribute to the development of this disease.
HIV remains a common infection across different regions of the world. However, there are at-risk populations who remain precarious to the disorder regardless of their nationality. HIV is largely spread heterosexually but the risk factors for the infection may vary across regions of the world (Zegeye et al., 2022). While some countries report high infection rates among drug users and sex workers, other regions record high prevalence amongst prisoners, transgender people as well as men who practice sexual behavior with other men.
- Discuss the epidemiologic triangle as it relates to the communicable disease you have selected. Include the host factors, agent factors (presence or absence), and environmental factors. Are there any special considerations or notifications for the community, schools, or general population?
Even though HIV remains a global pandemic, there are external forces also known as determinants of health that controls how human acquire the infection across different regions in the world. These forces define the vulnerability pattern which predisposes some regions to the infection when compared to other countries across the world. Socio-economic factors rate highest as among the determinants of health in different countries (Montiel et al., 2022). The economic environment relates to the income levels of populations and their rates of disposable income which can be used to improve well-being. Individuals who hail from low-income localities are likely to be hardest hit in terms of access to quality health. They may lack adequate education to gain knowledge on self-care. Besides, people from low-income backgrounds may engage in risky behaviors such as drug abuse, irresponsible alcohol consumption, and prostitution which have a ripple effect in predisposing them to adverse health outcomes (Zegeye et al., 2022). Those affected with HIV infection suffer from a lack of information on how to prevent virus transmission and may not have sufficient financial resources to access ARV drugs.
Built environment related to access to good infrastructure and availability of institutions of care determines the quality of health of populations. Populations who live in close proximity to health institutions have better health outcomes when compared to those where these services are sparsely distributed. HIV patients rely on ARV drugs for the entire period of their life and therefore can have better health when they can readily access centers of care to monitor their infections and replenish their medicines. Environment as well influences the quality of air and access to safe water which can support the health of HIV patients (Montiel et al., 2022). Personal behavior as influenced by the social and community context determines the health of those infected by HIV. In essence, people living with HIV are likely to transmit infections if they engage in risky behavior like prostitution. However, individuals who abstain from irresponsible sexual behavior and adhere to a healthy lifestyle are likely to live longer with HIV infections.
- Explain the role of the community health nurse (case finding, reporting, data collection, data analysis, and follow-up) and why demographic data are necessary to the health of the community.
In order to show the balance of health pertaining to HIV infection, researchers and health workers use the epidemiologic triangle. The latter is a triad model which explains diseases in terms of the causative agent, the host, and the environment for the survival of the infectious organism. The agent, in this case, is HIV which causes AIDs and suppresses the immune system making the human body susceptible to opportunistic infections (Staupe-Delgado & Rubin, 2022). The virus targets the CD4 receptors of the white blood cells and can be identified when different symptoms manifest in the affected person.
The second element in the epidemiologic triangle is the host and these are human beings infected by the disease-causing agent. HIV virus among the infected people can be transmitted by the host to another person through direct contact with infected blood, vaginal discharge, or semen. However, the viral load of the agent in the host determines the virulent nature of the infection in other people.
The last element in the epidemiologic triad is the environment which can provide an avenue for the progression of the infection. These external factors include the political, cultural, and social aspects that influence the rate of HIV transmission in a given society. Some cultures offer guidance and protection to those infected with HIV while others criticize or even segregate them from other members of the community (Montiel et al., 2022). Societies that permit commercial sexual behaviors are predisposed to increased HIV rates and should engage more in sex education to control the spread of the infection. However, gender relations practices in communities determine behaviors that can predispose one gender to HIV infection when compared to another. Societies that champion for gender equality are in a better position to address HIV infection among women as opposed to societies where gender disparity remains pervasive.
- Identify at least one national agency or organization that addresses the communicable disease chosen and describe how the organizations contribute to resolving or reducing the impact of disease.
- Discuss a global implication of the disease. How is this addressed in other countries or cultures? Is this disease endemic to a particular area? Provide an example.
A minimum of three peer-reviewed or professional references is required.
Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center.
This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.
You are required to submit this assignment to LopesWrite. A link to the LopesWrite technical support articles is located in Course Resources if you need assistance.
Measles is a virus that is highly contagious, it mainly lives in the host’s nose and mucus membranes (CDC, 2020). It is mainly transmitted when people sneeze or cough and if people breathe or touch contaminated areas the person will become infected with measles if they do not have the antibodies or are vaccinated (CDC, 2020). The symptoms start to appear seven to fourteen days after the person comes into contact with the virus then within three to five days a rash will start to appear (CDC, 2020). Some other symptoms are fever, runny nose, cough, and watery eyes (CDC, 2020). People who are at risk of contracting measles are babies younger than five, older than twenty, pregnant women and people with a compromised immune system (CDC, 2020). People who are not vaccinated also are at risk of contracting measles (CDC, 2020). Some complications of measles would be hospitalization, pneumonia, encephalitis and death (CDC, 2020). Women who are pregnant and get measles are at risk for a premature delivery and their babies to be born underweight (CDC, 2020). In the year 2000 measles was declared eradicated however, in 2019 1,282 cases were detected (CDC, 2020). Measle outbreaks mainly happen secondary to people not getting the vaccine and traveling to other countries that have outbreaks or coming into contact with someone who traveled to a country with measles (CDC, 2020).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention track and work with other organizations like the World Health Organization to try and contain and eliminate outbreaks (CDC, 2020). CDC promotes vaccinates among the community and healthcare workers as a preventative measure (CDC, 2020). The World Health Organization works with Member States and they are targeting states with measles outbreaks by vaccinating those communities (WHO, 2023).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, November 5). Measles (Rubeola). CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/measles/index.html
World Health Organization. (2023). Measles. World Health Organization (WHO). https://www.who.int/health-topics/measles#tab=tab_1REPL
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