Global Foodborne Infections Network (GFN)

Epidemiology Modules

Last reviewed/updated
9 July 2009

Epidemiology modules are aimed at providing training in foodborne and other enteric pathogen epidemiology to senior epidemiologists.

  • Outbreak Detection and Response
    This module provides instruction on the ten steps in outbreak investigation and response through the use of lectures and case studies. It closely follows the WHO Guidelines for investigation and control of foodborne outbreaks [pdf 4.46Mb].
  • Evaluation of Surveillance Systems
    This module addresses the evaluation of surveillance systems and determining if they are functioning appropriately. Evaluation of these systems should include questioning the function of the system in regards to meeting its purpose and objectives, identifying how to improve existing surveillance systems, and optimizing available resources. Evaluation may also include examining the need for modification of surveillance systems due to changes in priorities, epidemiology and diagnostics.
  • Study Design
    This module provides senior epidemiologists a review of various study designs, available for diverse study objectives. Through case studies, computer-based epidemiologic training (i.e. case studies, use of epidemiological software), sessions and lectures, major study designs such as case-control, cohort, cross-sectional are described in detail. Instruction is also given on how to use these study designs in the most appropriate situations. Additionally, this module addresses measures of association and their interpretation.
  • Food safety during mass gatherings
    The contamination of food and water during mass gatherings (MG) pose significant health risks for MG participants as well as economic, social and political consequences for the host organization and the government. Government authorities have the overall responsibility for ensuring the safety of food and water during any MG. This module provides an introduction to the food and water safety measures that need to be considered in advance of a MG.
  • Source attribution
    This module provides an introduction to source attribution, a collection of methods developed to partition the human disease burden of one or more foodborne infections to specific sources. These sources may include animal reservoirs and vehicles (e.g. foods). Aimed at senior epidemiologists, this module also explores the variety of general methods used to attribute foodborne diseases to specific sources and allows participants to apply some of these methods through case studies and hands-on exercises.
  • Burden of Disease
    This module addresses issues surrounding the burden of foodborne diseases. In order to assess the impact of food safety measures, reliable epidemiological estimates on the burden of foodborne disease are essential. Such information is also necessary for advising policy-makers on the cost-effective use of resources.