EPIDEMIOLOGY, DISEASE CONTROL AND PUBLIC HEALTH - 2020/1

Module code: MMIM017

Module Overview

To develop critical appreciation of the spread of infection, including the methods used to study the characteristics of outbreaks, and the factors that affect patterns of spread

Module provider

School of Biosciences and Medicine

Module Leader

COTTELL Alison (Biosc & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: C510

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

N/A

Module content

Indicative content includes:


  • Cycle of infection, control points, routes of transmission, reservoirs

  • Basic epidemiological methods: Descriptive studies; analytical studies; cohort and case control studies

  • Identification of risk factors

  • Statistical methods: relative and attributable risk; odds ratios; confounding and bias

  • Notification and reporting of infectious diseases; Outbreak investigation; control of hospital infections

  • Typing & fingerprinting; molecular epidemiology

  • Mathematical modelling of epidemics; reproductive rates, herd immunity; computer modelling

  • Design and analysis of vaccine trials

  • Conventional and novel vaccines: toxoids, attenuated vaccines (including rational attenuation), killed, subunit, live recombinant, DNA, peptides

  • Strategies for vaccine use

  • Control of zoonoses

  • Recent trends in the epidemiology of food poisoning

  • Factors affecting the growth and survival of microbes in foods and water

  • Sampling and quality control

  • HACCP


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK 30
Examination EXAMINATION 2 HOURS 70

Alternative Assessment

Case study: 900 – 1100 words Two-hour exam: 2 answers from a choice of four questions

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate


  • demonstrate a critical understanding of the chain/cycle of infection and its use in identifying control points where further spread can be interrupted

  • application of methods used to study the epidemiology of infectious diseases for a given scenario, including their impact on control strategies

  • application of the statistical methods used to study and model outbreaks and epidemics

  • Understanding of the properties of existing vaccines and the strategies for their use and the methods used to develop and test new vaccines, and analyse data on their efficacy

  • Ability to evaluate measures that ensure microbiological quality of food and water



Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:


  • Case study: 900 – 1100 words; deadline Week 30

  • Two-hour exam: 2 answers from a choice of four questions



Formative assessment and feedback

Module aims

  • Develop a critical appreciation of the nature of the spread of infectious diseases and the control points at which the cycle of infection can be broken
  • Develop an understanding of statistical methods and basic computer modelling methods that are used to study epidemics and identify the appropriate control strategies
  • Understand the of importance of vaccines, including development of novel vaccines and the methods for assessing them, in preventing disease spread
  • Understand the role of food and water in the prevention of transmission of infection

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Discuss critically the chain/cycle of infection and its use in identifying control points where further spread can be interrupted KCP
002 Describe the methods used to study the epidemiology of infectious diseases and discuss their impact on control strategies KC
003 Explain the statistical methods used to study and model outbreaks and epidemics, and apply these methods to analysis of a simple example KCP
004 Compare the properties of existing vaccines and the strategies for their use KC
005 Critically discuss the methods used to develop and test new vaccines, and analyse data on vaccine efficacy KC
006 Explain and evaluate the measures taken to ensure the microbiological quality of food and water KC

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Consolidate fundamental concepts of epidemiology by inviting specialist experts to give lectures and run practical sessions.

The learning and teaching methods include:


  • Lectures are used to deliver the main content of this module (~25 hours)

  • Practical computer classes are used to teach mathematical modelling (3 hours)

  • Tutorial class discussions of an outbreak simulation are held at the end of the module draw concepts together and assist in facilitating a deep understanding of the subject (4 hours)


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Reading list for EPIDEMIOLOGY, DISEASE CONTROL AND PUBLIC HEALTH : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/mmim017

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Medical Microbiology (EuroMasters) MSc 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Medical Microbiology MSc 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.