Illustration showing doctor checking the health of a population of people

Time for a check-up

Epidemiology looks at a population’s health

Epidemiology is the study of health and disease in populations, human or otherwise. It covers mapping an outbreak of flu, to predicting how badger populations will respond to vaccination against tuberculosis, to comparing rates of lung cancer in populations of smokers and non-smokers.

By looking at patterns of disease, epidemiologists try to understand risk factors and provide information that will help public health authorities prevent and respond quickly to outbreaks of infectious disease.

Lead image:

Illustration © Glen McBeth

About this resource

This resource was first published in ‘Populations’ in June 2014.

Health, infection and disease
Education levels:
14–16, 16–19, Continuing professional development