During epidemics and food poisoning outbreaks, epidemiologists are responsible for determining the source and limiting its impact. Epidemiologists also conduct research to identify what causes illness, at risk populations, and how to prevent outbreaks. Additionally, they specialize in social and demographic trends affecting the spread of disease. Epidemiologists often first identify potential epidemics, such as bird flu or mad cow disease.

Epidemiologists utilize statistical analysis, examine environmental, behavioral, and hereditary factors, and rely on their knowledge of molecular biology, biochemistry, immunology, and other sciences when identifying potential threats to public health.

Working Conditions

Because of a shortage of epidemiologists across the nation, excellent opportunities exist for professionals entering this field.

Career Training and Education

Since epidemiologists must possess quantitative and computer skills, understand disease prevention, and evaluate the effectiveness of healthcare systems, it's recommended to obtain a well-rounded education.

Information about accredited college degree programs in epidemiology can be obtained from the Association of Schools of Public Health.

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