School of Public Health


EPI 520 Epidemiology Of Infectious Diseases (3)

Focuses on infectious diseases from a public health perspective. Uses domestic and international case studies to apply traditional and contemporary epidemiologic principles and methods to infectious disease research and public health practice. Specific topics include: surveillance, program evaluation, outbreak investigation, transmission dynamics, and mathematical modeling. Prerequisite: either EPI 511, EPI 512, or permission of instructor.

Winter 2021

Line Number Section ID Credits Days/Times Room/Bldg Instructor
00000A3.0Monday, Wednesday @ 1:00pm - 2:20pmN/AChristine M Khosropour
For a complete listing of Epidemiology courses, their elective categories, and when they are typically offered, please see the Epidemiology Course Planning Sheet

Additional Course Details

This introductory course in infectious disease epidemiology is designed for graduate students in the School of Public Health and is intended to complement other courses in infectious diseases offered by the School. The course will focus on the application of epidemiological methods (design, measurement, analysis and intervention) to the investigation of infectious diseases. It will cover the transmission dynamics of infectious diseases in populations, as well as provide an overview of several infectious diseases of public health importance in the developed and developing world. The course assumes an understanding of basic epidemiological principles including study design, assessment of bias, risk factor analysis, and significance testing. Students must have completed an introductory course in epidemiology (EPI 511 or EPI 512) and preferably biostatistics, or have permission of the instructor.    

Topics Covered

  • Methods and study designs for infectious disease research
  • Systematic reviews
  • Transmission dynamics
  • Sampling populations
  • Pathogen detection and immune response
  • Outbreak investigation and molecular epidemiology
  • Mathematical modeling
  • Vaccines
  • In-depth sessions on specific infectious diseases

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the various stages of the host-agent relationship and their importance in transmission dynamics.
  • Calculate and interpret measures of disease frequency and association specific to infectious disease epidemiology, including attack rates, secondary attack rates, case fatality ratios, and vaccine efficacy, among others.
  • Develop appropriate case definitions and measures of infectious disease outcomes and exposures.
  • Identify typical points of intervention to reduce transmission of infectious diseases (in non-outbreak settings) or halt transmission (in outbreak settings).
  • Outline components of effective surveillance systems for infectious diseases.
  • Describe the components of transmission dynamics used in the basic reproductive number and outline their role in compartmental models used in mathematical modeling of infectious diseases.
  • List the strengths and limitations of various methods for diagnosing infectious diseases and confirming infection with an outbreak strain and interpret results of epidemiologic studies in light of these strengths and weaknesses.
  • Analytically critique published studies of infectious disease epidemiology in terms of the appropriateness of the study design, study population, measurement of exposures and outcomes, and measures of disease frequency and association.
  • Describe the epidemiology of several infectious diseases of contemporary importance.  
  • Write a modified systematic review.

Course Format

Topical lectures    

How You Will Be Evaluated

Written assignments and final review paper

Contact the Instructors

Christine Khosropour (
Lisa Manhart (