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Nrs 427v Benchmark Assignment

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Benchmark Assignment: Epidemiology
Class: NRS-427V Concepts in Community and Public Health May 11, 2015 (O500)
Name: Gulshan Kaur
Date: May 25, 2015

What is epidemiology? Epidemiology is the study of a disease that is in a large population. There are many diseases that exist today and existed in the past that health professionals have interfered with and had these diseases come to a halt. Epidemiology isn't fully about the study of the disease itself, but it mostly comes in relation with the processes of the disease. Also not only is it about processes but it also about the cure and the curing of patients of the disease. People that inherent the epidemiological approach, they study the frequency of occurrence of the disease in the population. The epidemiologist has a belief that studying the interactions of the disease it will be possible to change and manipulate some of the determinants involved and reduce the amount of times the disease occurs in the population.
One the diseases that provide epidemiologists the opportunity to study the disease and provide intervention is chicken pox. Also known as varicella, chicken pox is a highly contagious disease caused by the initial infection with varicella zoster virus. The disease leaves patients with a characteristic skin rash that forms small, itchy blisters, which scab over. This disease usually starts at the face and then quickly develops to the chest and back and then spreads to the rest of the body. Chickenpox is usually seen in younger children in middle school and younger. This disease is not as severe in children as it is in adults. There are many symptoms of this disease. Many symptoms include fever, feeling tired, and also headaches. These symptoms usually last five to ten days. There are many complications and these complications occasionally include pneumonia, inflammation of the brain, or bacterial infections of the skin. These bacterial skin infections can also infect others that come near or in the presence of the infected. Symptoms usually begin ten to twenty one days after exposure to the virus (Chickenpox, 2015).
The spreading of chickenpox is mainly airborne. It spreads easily through the coughs and sneezes of an infected person. One to two days before the rash, it can still be spread until all the lesions have crusted over. If the patient has blisters it is even easier if another person makes contact with the blisters. If people are not immune to the disease, those with shingles can spread chickenpox to the people that are not immune from the contact of blisters. Chickenpox can be easily diagnosed through the present symptoms the patient may have but sometimes due to unusual circumstances, the patient can only be diagnosed by testing the blister fluid or scabs. Another way to find out if the patient has chicken pox is to test for antibodies to determine if the patient is immune or not. Chickenpox usually only happens once in a patient's life and there are no further reports of the patient being diagnosed with varicella (Chickenpox, 2015).
There are many determinants of health that are affecting people's lives that are diagnosed with chickenpox. The disease usually occurs in late winter and early spring months. The disease can also be transmitted from direct contact with the open sores. This excludes clothing, bedding and other such objects. This objects usually do not spread the disease. Patients that are diagnosed with the disease can transfer the disease from two days before the appearance of the spots until the end of the blister stage. This means that once the patient is diagnosed, the patient can still transmit the disease without knowing the patient even has chickenpox. Children in school that are diagnosed with the disease are required to stay at home until the skin has completely cleared. This is a great prevention but it is not necessary to prevent transmission. Between 75-90% of chickenpox occurs in children under 10 years. Ever since the vaccine for varicella was introduced, the incidence of the disease and hospitalizations due to chickenpox has declined by 90% (Epidemiology, 2015).
The best way to study the basis of chickenpox is using the epidemiological triangle. The epidemiological triangle is a model that epidemiologists have developed for studying health problems. It can help nurses and health professionals easily understand infectious diseases and how they spread. The triangle has three corners and these three corners are defined as the agent, the host, and environment. The agent is the microbe that causes the disease, it is also known as the “what” of the triangle. The host is the organism that becomes the vessel for the disease also known as the “who” of the triangle. The environment are the external factors that cause or allow disease transmission also known as the “where” of the triangle .
Chickenpox is a great fit for the epidemiological triangle because it is a very common communicable disease and has been studied for years by scientists. Chickenpox can be identified through the realization of the agent, host, and the environment. Chickenpox is caused by the initial infection with varicella zoster. The agent that causes the disease is known as varicella zoster. The host can be any living organism that travels. Travel as in walking or interacting with others. Animals can also be a host and also spread the disease to humans. This includes wild and farm animals and also pets that are owned by humans. The environment is not a strong influence but when a person with chickenpox sneezes the disease is in the environment and is transmitted through the air. This makes the disease airborne and even easier to transmit. Through the epidemiological triangle chickenpox is understood a lot easier. This triangle is featured in many lobbies of hospitals or even waiting areas in hospitals (Williams, 2015).
The role of a nurse during this type of outbreak is to follow the steps to proper diagnosis and treatment. The first step to proper diagnosis is to confirm the outbreak. Physicians and public health professionals have to make direct links for cases and obtain specimens for laboratory testing. Laboratory testing is also used to confirm the end of the outbreak. The second step is to begin case findings. Case findings should include the history of the patient, the age of the patient, disease history, and underlying medical conditions. Through this the nurse can formally get to know the patient on a medical and personal level. That way the nurse can further his or her diagnosis. The third step would be to implement outbreak control. As in containing the patient for further notice. Especially a patient with chickenpox, the patient must stay vigilant, as the patient can pass the disease through physical or airborne contact. This includes isolation and exclusion. The fourth step would be data analysis. Data analysis allows the nurse to understand why the outbreak occurred and allows the nurse to provide guidance for control and prevention. To prevent future outbreaks of chickenpox the best way is vaccination. The vaccination is called varicella vaccination. The final step is to never let this disease happen again and create interventions for the disease to never happen again (Strategies, 2015).
A support group that is helping to fight against chickenpox and other related diseases is the The National Shingles Foundation. The NSF is the world's only nonprofit organization solely dedicated to the fight against the varicella-zoster virus and VZV related infections through research and education. The National Shingles Foundation is not licensed to practice medicine and therefore cannot make diagnosis, or prescribe medication. But they do educate the public and organize committees where the public can learn about varicella and the symptoms and step by step treatment processes (VZV Foundation, 2015).


Chickenpox. (n.d.). Retrieved May 25, 2015, from

Chickenpox. (n.d.). Retrieved May 25, 2015, from

Epidemiology: Some basic concepts and definitions. (n.d.). Retrieved May 25, 2015, from

Strategies for the Control and Investigation of Varicella Outbreaks Manual, 2008. (2011, November 16). Retrieved May 25, 2015, from

VZV Foundation - A Decade Of Leadership In The Fight Against VZV Infections. (n.d.). Retrieved May 25, 2015, from

Williams, K. (n.d.). Student Reproducible. Retrieved May 25, 2015, from

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