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Instructor Guide Case Study 811-703

The case studies in applied epidemiology have been developed at CDC and used in training for Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officers "disease detectives”. They allow students to practice their epidemiologic skills in the classroom through carefully crafted exercises that detail real public health problems such as infectious diseases, chronic illnesses, occupational health, and environmental health.  Case studies cover epidemiologic basics such as: outbreak investigation, surveillance, study design, data interpretation, and descriptive and analytic methods.

How are the case studies used?

The case studies are a component of an applied epidemiology curriculum. Use them to reinforce principles and skills already covered in a lecture or background reading. The case studies can be used in two ways:

  1. Classwork:Students read the case study up to the first question. Then they perform calculations, construct graphs, or engage in a discussion of the answer. Sometimes, different students are asked to play different roles in answering the question. After the group has discussed the answer satisfactorily, the students read on to the next question.
  2. Homework:Students read the case study and answer the questions. In class the case study and findings are discussed. This requires less class time, but the elements of discovery and of surprise are lost.

The case studies are ideally suited for adult learners because they require active participation and problem-solving; are job-relevant; and use specific examples to teach concepts. In addition they allow students to contribute to the learning environment based on their own experience; they allow students to learn from their peers as well as from the instructors; and they are fun.

Available for Download 

A Cluster of Group A Streptococcal Postoperative Wound Infections (1989)

A Measles Outbreak in a Highly Vaccinated Population: Health Sector Muyinga, Burundi 1988-1989 (1992)

A Mixed Bag in Michigan (The PBB Story) (1991)

An Epidemic Disease in South Carolina (1992)

An Outbreak of Appendicitis in Oneida (1988)

An Epidemic of Thyrotoxicosis (pdf)

An Outbreak of Enteritis During a Pilgrimage to Mecca

An Outbreak of Hemorrhagic Fever in Africa ("Ebola")

An Outbreak of Jaundice in a Rural County

An Outbreak of Neurologic Syndrome Among Factory Workers (1991 update)

Botulism in Argentina

Botulism in Argentina (Spanish Version)

Cigarette Smoking and Lung Cancer (pdf)

Epidemic Measles in a Divided City (Texarkana) (1990)

Injury Surveillance (1990 update)

Listeriosis in Costa Rica (1990)

Oral Contraceptive Use and Ovarian Cancer (1992 update)

"Oswego:" An Outbreak of Gastrointestinal Illness Following a Church Supper (pdf)

Screening for Antibody to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Suspected Legionnaires' Disease in Bogalusa (currently unavailable)

Tampons and Toxic Shock Syndrome (1992 update)

Vinyl Chorlide and Cancer (1988)

Oral Contraceptive Use and Ovarian Cancer

Paralytic Illness in Ababo

Surveillance of E-Coli 0157:H7 - Information for Action

Texarkana - Epidemic Measles in a Divided City

Instructor Guides

Instructor guides/Preceptor versions for teachers/faculty can be purchased from the APTR online store. Instructor guides are available FREE for APTR members and are $20 for non-members.

Case Studies in Applied Epidemiology

CDC developed case studies in applied epidemiology based on real-life epidemiologic investigations and used them for training new Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officers — CDC’s “disease detectives.” EIS offers these carefully crafted epidemiology case studies for schools of medicine, nursing, and public health to use as a component of an applied epidemiology curriculum.

The following case studies use specific examples to teach epidemiology concepts, require active participation, and help strengthen problem-solving skills. These case studies in applied epidemiology:

Cover epidemiologic basics, including:

  • Outbreak investigation
  • Surveillance
  • Study design
  • Data interpretation
  • Descriptive and analytic methods

Are based on public health investigations of:

  • Infectious diseases
  • Chronic illnesses
  • Environmental health

Instructor and Student Guides

Each EIS Case Study consists of an instructor guide or a student guide.

  • Instructors or trainers (not students): obtain Applied Epidemiology Case Studies instructors’ guides. Send an e-mail to: eis@cdc.gov and label subject line: “Case Study Instructor Guide Request”.
  • Students: Use Adobe Acrobat reader, to view or print the student guides.

How to Use the EIS Case Studies

Students may practice their epidemiologic skills by using these exercises in classroom activities or as homework assignments to reinforce principles and skills previously covered in lectures and reading assignments.

  • In-Class Activity
    Students, read the case study up to the first question and then perform calculations, construct graphs, or discuss the answer. Students may be asked to play different roles in answering the question. After discussing the first answer satisfactorily, read on to the next question and continue with the exercise.
  • Individual Activity
    Students, for a homework assignment, read the case study and answer the questions, then discuss the findings in class.

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