Fall SAVY 2017, Day 2- Disease Detectives: How Scientists Prevent Big Problems (3rd/4th)
This week we introduced the class to the Cholera Epidemic of 1854. This case along with the introduction to John Snow (the father of epidemiology) is probably the most classic epidemiology case – and really is my favorite! Students were given a list of patient cases that they had to go through to determine patterns in similarities/differences in patient history. They then used these clues to deduce the spread of the disease was through the water source. Combining the patient histories with the famous Broad Street map of London, the students were able to trace cholera back to the Broad Street Pump. Extending on our cholera discussion, we briefly highlighted the bacteria Vibrio cholerae and how it causes disease.
Our overarching theme for this class was recognizing patterns and their importance in epidemiology. The Environmental Protection Agency, water treatment and sanitation were discussed in this context. Regulations and limits to what is allowed in drinking water were also discussed. We focused on environmental factors that can affect (both positively and negatively) public health. To tie in current events, we also discussed Hurricane Harvey and how toxic levels of bacteria in flood waters were affecting the people of Houston.