Epidemiology Of Viral Diseases

Epidemiology is the study of the determinants, dynamics and distribution of diseases in the population. Viral epidemiology is the branch of medical science that deals with the transmission and control of virus infections in humans. Transmission of viruses can be vertical, which means from mother to child, or horizontal, which means from person to person. Examples of vertical transmission include hepatitis B virus and HIV, where the baby is born already infected with the virus. Another, rarer, example is the varicella zoster virus, which, although causing relatively mild infections in humans, can be fatal to the foetus and newborn baby.

Epidemiology is used to break the chain of infection in populations during outbreaks of viral diseases. Control measures are used that are based on knowledge of how the virus is transmitted. It is important to find the source, or sources, of the outbreak and to identify the virus. Once the virus has been identified, the chain of transmission can sometimes be broken by vaccines. When vaccines are not available, sanitation and disinfection can be effective. Often, infected people are isolated from the rest of the community, and those that have been exposed to the virus are placed in quarantine. Most viral infections of humans and other animals have incubation periods during which the infection causes no signs or symptoms. Incubation periods for viral diseases range from a few days to weeks, but are known for most infections.

  • Ebola
  • Marburg
  • Hantavirus
  • Lassa
  • Rabies
  • Smallpox
  • Dengue
  • Influenza
  • Influenza

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