The study and analysis of health and illness situations in specific populations, including their distribution, patterns, and determinants, is known as epidemiology.
It is a pillar of public health that influences policy and evidence-based practise by identifying disease risk factors and preventative healthcare objectives. Epidemiologists assist in study design, data collection, statistical analysis, interpretation, and dissemination (including peer review and occasional systematic review). Epidemiology has aided in the development of technique for clinical research, public health investigations, and, to a lesser extent, basic biological science research.
Major topics of epidemiological study include illness aetiology, transmission, outbreak investigation, disease surveillance, environmental epidemiology, forensic epidemiology, occupational epidemiology, screening, biomonitoring, and comparisons of treatment effects, such as in clinical trials. Epidemiologists use other scientific disciplines, such as biology to better understand disease processes, statistics to effectively use data and create appropriate findings, social sciences to better understand proximate and distal causes, and engineering to assess exposure.
Despite the fact that the term “epizoology” is available, it is most usually used in zoological population research (veterinary epidemiology), and it has also been applied to plant population studies (botanical or plant disease epidemiology).
Hippocrates coined the terms “epidemic” and “endemic” to distinguish between diseases that “visit” a population (epidemic) and those that “reside inside” a community (endemic) (endemic). In his book Epidemiologa Española, published in 1802, the Spanish physician Villalba appears to have coined the term “epidemiology” to characterise the study of epidemics. Epidemiologists also look into how diseases interact in a population, which is known as a syndemic.
Epidemiology is a term that is often used to describe and explain not only epidemics and infectious diseases, but also disease in general and associated conditions. High blood pressure, mental illness, and obesity are just a few of the issues studied by epidemiology. As a result, this epidemiology is centred on how the pattern of disease produces a change in human function.