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Field concerned with the determination of causes, incidence, and characteristic behavior of disease outbreaks affecting human populations. It includes the interrelationships of host, agent, and environment as related to the distribution and control of disease.


epidemiology [Subheading]

Used with human and veterinary diseases for the distribution of disease, factors which cause disease, and the attributes of disease in defined populations; includes incidence, frequency, prevalence, endemic and epidemic outbreaks; also surveys and estimates of morbidity in geographic areas and in specified populations. Used also with geographical headings for the location of epidemiologic aspects of a disease. Excludes mortality for which "mortality" is used.

Year introduced: 1989


Molecular Epidemiology

The application of molecular biology to the answering of epidemiological questions. The examination of patterns of changes in DNA to implicate particular carcinogens and the use of molecular markers to predict which individuals are at highest risk for a disease are common examples.

Year introduced: 2010 (1994)


Legal Epidemiology

Scientific study of law as a factor in the cause, distribution, and prevention of disease and injury. (From https://read.dukeupress.edu/jhppl/article/41/6/1151/40084/Policy-Surveillance-A-Vital-Public-Health-Practice).

Year introduced: 2020


Contact Tracing

Identification of those persons (or animals) who have had such an association with an infected person, animal, or contaminated environment as to have had the opportunity to acquire the infection.

Year introduced: 1991


Wastewater-Based Epidemiological Monitoring

Sampling of the liquids generated from industrial processes, sanitary fixtures and appliances, food handling, etc., to collect and analyze epidemiological information (such as pathogen levels, or concentrations of pesticides, pharmaceuticals, or other substances) from metabolic excretion products, household liquid wastes, and industrial wastes.

Year introduced: 2020


Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic

Factors that can cause or prevent the outcome of interest but are not intermediate variables of the factor(s) under investigation.

Year introduced: 2020 (1990)



The science concerned with the benefit and risk of drugs used in populations and the analysis of the outcomes of drug therapies. Pharmacoepidemiologic data come from both clinical trials and epidemiological studies with emphasis on methods for the detection and evaluation of drug-related adverse effects, assessment of risk vs benefit ratios in drug therapy, patterns of drug utilization, the cost-effectiveness of specific drugs, methodology of postmarketing surveillance, and the relation between pharmacoepidemiology and the formulation and interpretation of regulatory guidelines. (Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf 1992;1(1); J Pharmacoepidemiol 1990;1(1))

Year introduced: 1994


Reproducibility of Results

The statistical reproducibility of measurements (often in a clinical context), including the testing of instrumentation or techniques to obtain reproducible results. The concept includes reproducibility of physiological measurements, which may be used to develop rules to assess probability or prognosis, or response to a stimulus; reproducibility of occurrence of a condition; and reproducibility of experimental results.

Year introduced: 1989


SEER Program

A cancer registry mandated under the National Cancer Act of 1971 to operate and maintain a population-based cancer reporting system, reporting periodically estimates of cancer incidence and mortality in the United States. The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program is a continuing project of the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Among its goals, in addition to assembling and reporting cancer statistics, are the monitoring of annual cancer incident trends and the promoting of studies designed to identify factors amenable to cancer control interventions. (From National Cancer Institute, NIH Publication No. 91-3074, October 1990)

Year introduced: 1995

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