Epidemiology of Human and Animal Viral Diseases

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Viral disease epidemiology is the study of the determinants, dynamics, and distribution of viral diseases in populations. The risk of infection or disease in a population is determined by characteristics of the virus, the host, and the host population, as well as behavioral, environmental, and ecological factors that affect virus transmission from one host to another. Viral disease epidemiology has come to have a major role in clarifying the etiologic role of particular viruses and viral variants as the cause of specific diseases, in improving our understanding of the overall nature of specific viral diseases, and in determining factors affecting host susceptibility and immunity, in unraveling modes of transmission, in clarifying the interaction of viruses with environmental determinants of disease, in determining the safety, efficacy, and utility of vaccines and antiviral drugs, and especially in alerting and directing disease prevention and control actions. Information on incidence, prevalence, and morbidity and mortality rates contributes directly to the establishment of priorities for prevention and control programs, whether this involves vaccine or drug development and delivery, environmental and hygienic improvements, enhancement of nutritional status, personal or community behavior, agricultural and food processing enhancements, reservoir host and vector control, and international cooperation and communication. Epidemiology provides the evidence needed to take public health action and sits with a multi-disciplinary ecosystem that includes biological, social and data sciences which together elucidate the multi-factorial etiology of viral diseases and how they can be controlled, eliminated or eradicated. The emergence of big data-large quantities of health and non-health data analyzed for health purposes using advanced approaches that include artificial intelligence and machine learning, open new perspectives for an ever more granular understanding of viral diseases and their determinants, but also new ethical challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Virology
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1-5, Fourth Edition
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780128145166
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Analytical studies
  • Big data
  • Disease control
  • Disease prevention
  • Mathematical modeling
  • Transmission patterns
  • Zoonoses
  • determinants of health
  • incidence
  • prevalence

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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