Epidemiology is defined as the study of the incidence, distribution, and control of health related events in a specific population. The primary objectives of an illness investigation are to stop the outbreak and prevent additional cases, by implementing public health control measures. When an illness occurs, we want to find out:
- Causative agent
- Contributing factors
- Who is at risk
- Mode of transmission
- When and where did the exposure occur
Using the epidemiology investigation process to answer these questions, food regulatory and health agencies are better positioned to control or prevent further exposure to the microorganisms and toxins that have been implicated in an illness outbreak. The Butler County Health Department works closely with Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services in any on going investigation that may be taking place.