An outbreak is essentially the same thing as an epidemic, i.e., an increased frequency of a disease above the usual rate (endemic rate) in a given population or geographic area. Pandemic refers to simultaneous epidemics occurring in multiple locations across the globe. Traditionally, these terms referred to infectious diseases, but they can also be used to describe non-infectious diseases and chronic conditions, such as lung cancer and obesity. In addition, the principles of investigation are similar for all of these. This module provides a practical introduction to the steps involved in outbreak investigations, and it provides some useful tools.

Learning Objectives

After successfully completing this section, the student will be able to:

- Labeling columns and rows & entering text and numeric data.

- Sorting data.

- Using Excel functions to tabulate data using the COUNT and SUM functions to tabulate data.

 A Salmonella Outbreak after a School Luncheon – A Cohort Study


The Hepatitis A Outbreak in Marshfield, MA – A Case-Control Study