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Management of infectious disease outbreaks in animal populations

Module information>

Academic Direction
The Royal Veterinary College
Modes of Study

This module is designed to provide you with both comprehensive theoretical knowledge and practical tools for the management of major infectious diseases in livestock.View information leaflet

Topics covered

The module consists of 11 units of study, all of which you should complete. They make up the following three sections.

Section 1 Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases

This section (Units 1–3) explores the nature and mechanisms of infectious viral diseases, epidemiological aspects of disease control and the principles of risk and economic analysis in disease control. The section focuses on selected viruses and diseases chosen on the basis of their global incidence and economic importance, and guides you in considering different elements of risk assessment and the role of economic analysis in animal health projects.

Section 2 Principles of Management of Infectious Diseases

The second section (Units 4–7) examines methods of surveillance, monitoring and detection of infectious disease, explains the principles of prevention, including immunization, and considers the management of outbreaks. In this module you will learn about contingency planning and the importance of international co-operation in the control and management of high-threat disease outbreaks. Unit 4 involves computer-based activities using an epidemiological program, WinEpiscope, which you will be instructed to download from the Internet. The necessary computer specification is given in the section 2 overview and full details for installing the software are provided in the Reader.

Section 3 Case Studies in the Management of Infectious Diseases

In the final section (Units 8–11) you are presented with case studies which address diseases with different characteristics. The approaches presented in the case studies emphasise both diagnosis and eradication, and the examples are designed to enable you to put into practice the information and fundamental principles acquired in the earlier modules.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module you should be able to:

  • describe the epidemiological concept of disease transmission and related factors, and explain the epidemiological aspects of the relationship between host, agent and the environment
  • explain the role of economic analysis in animal health management
  • describe monitoring and surveillance approaches
  • outline measures needed to prevent the introduction of a disease into a country Introduction to the Course Management of Infectious Disease Outbreaks in Animal Populations Page 3 © The Royal Veterinary College 2009
  • make recommendations on the most appropriate control methods for different diseases
  • identify the highest-threat emergency animal diseases for your country, know where those threats are likely to come from and recognise how they will manifest themselves.


Your work for this module will be assessed by means of a three-hour unseen written examination paper which will take the form of essay questions. In addition, you must submit at least one and up to three TMAs.

The grade awarded will be based on the mark obtained in the written examination (80%) and on the mark for the compulsory TMA (20%).

Module information sheets

Download the full module information sheet from the RVC website.