Outbreak history can be defined as the total number of persons infected during a particular period of time. It can also refer to the total number of cases of infection. Outbreak history is important for the progress of a vaccine. Some of the vaccines known to use outbreak history as part of their strategy include the Pneumococcal, the Hib and the Varicella vaccines.
Outbreak history is usually gathered from the records of the state health department during the course of the outbreak. The primary way of gathering outbreak information is to collect information from the patients who have contracted the disease. Most of the times, this information is collected through interviews.
There are different ways in which the information can be collected for possible history. For instance, health department personnel may ask the patients about their contact with people who are ill or in a stable state of immunity. They might also collect samples of the patient’s secretions during the physical examination of the patients.
The collected information is used by the specialists in the study to know more about the demographics of the population and to get additional information about the other health risk factors that affect the outbreak. More information about the history of the outbreak may help the specialists know the source of the infections in the community. Information about community resources is also gathered such as public water systems, hospitals, and clinics that are close to the affected area.
After gathering the data, the specialists conduct a study of the outbreak in order to know how to prevent the next outbreak. They could conduct risk analysis studies that would analyze the risk factors that can lead to future outbreak. Most of the time, the focus is given to the public health campaigns that were conducted during the previous outbreak.
Outbreak history may also be used as part of vaccine development. It helps the development team in identifying the areas that need special attention to ensure that the existing vaccines will still be effective after the next outbreak. Furthermore, information about the outbreak history can be used to assess the efficacy of the vaccine by comparing the outbreak history of a vaccine with the real history of the community that has been targeted by the vaccine. This way, the vaccine will be tailored to the right community and the efficacy of the vaccine will be improved.
Outbreak history is also used as part of data collection for monitoring the efficiency of the strategies used by the vaccine. It is vital to gather outbreak data as early as possible to avoid any chances of making a mistake. Otherwise, the vaccine would only have information on the outbreak history that were collected in the last few weeks or even months. The information should be collected at regular intervals so that the scientists will have an idea of the progress of the campaign in the intervening period.
Outbreak history is also used as part of vaccine assessment. It will be used to determine the status of the vaccine in terms of the immunity of the population and its effectiveness in preventing the next outbreak. It will also be used to compare the vaccine with other types of vaccines to find out if the vaccine is effective in protecting the population.