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  Home > Graduate Programs and Degrees Offered > Veterinary Medicine Graduate Program > Courses > VMED 8090

VMED 8090

Epidemiology of Zoonoses and Diseases Common to Animals and Humans
3 Credits
215 Veterinary Science
Thursdays, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Dr. Jeff Bender, Course Coordinator
Veterinary Public Health
University of Minnesota
136F ABLMS, 1354 Eckles Ave.
Dr. Joni Scheftel
State Public Health Veterinarian
Acute Disease Investigation and Control Section
Minnesota Department of Health
625 N Robert Street
St. Paul, MN 55155-2538
651-201- 5107
TA: Dr. Amanda Beaudoin,
Course Materials:
Class notes are provided by seminar presenters. Material to augment the lectures will be placed on reserve in the Veterinary Library.
Required Text – Control of Communicable Diseases Manual, American Public Health Association.  (2008) 19th Edition. D. Heymann, Editor. 
Course Goal
To develop research, written, and verbal skills.
An understanding of basic epidemiologic principles. This may include previous course work from “Fundamentals of Epidemiology or Epidemiological Methods” or coursework in a professional program (e.g. medical, nursing, or veterinary education).
Course Objectives
Students will develop the skills necessary to review and analyze literature regarding zoonotic diseases.
Students will be able to synthesize material to orally present information to colleagues, to write a topical review of the literature, and to present information to a lay audience.
Through class discussion of selected zoonotic diseases, students will be able to identify emerging, current and key issues.
Describe the disease epidemiology, including:
  • Case definition, clinical signs, and symptoms, course of the disease or infection and case-fatality rates.
  • Epidemiologic risk factors for the disease/infection including geography, seasonality, age, sex, race, occupation, recreation, etc.
  • Understand the agent’s life cycle (agent, host, and environment interaction), including the source(s) or reservoir(s) and host-range. 
  • Identify the mode(s) of transmission of the agent.
  • Understand and explain the importance of the infectious agent’s incubation period and communicability, as well as the susceptibility and resistance of the hosts (animal and human).
  • Identify current local and/or national active and passive surveillance programs for the disease under discussion. This includes knowing which zoonotic diseases are reportable to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health and the Minnesota Department of Health.
  • Understand current methods of prevention and control.
Students will be able to explain the impact of the disease on animals and humans in terms of:
  • Morbidity and mortality
  • Economic loss relating to human health (medical and insurance costs, lost income)
  • Non-economic losses relating to human health (psychological, social, etc.)
  • Economic losses relating to animals (medical and replacement costs, lost income)
  • Non-economic losses relating to animals (welfare, ecologic, genetic, etc.)
Students will be able to describe the fundamental principles of zoonotic disease surveillance and zoonotic disease outbreak investigation.
Students will be able to make recommendations relative to eradication, prevention or control of zoonoses, under epidemic and endemic conditions.
Course Expectations
The first class period will be reserved for faculty/student introduction, and a general introduction to the study of zoonoses (including definitions and classifications) and informational resources. We will also discuss selection and allocation of student disease topics based in part on each student's background, interests and future plans.
Prior to each class meeting, all students are expected to familiarize themselves with the assigned diseases/topics using the required and suggested texts, as well as appropriate references as necessary.
Students will be expected to orally present and lead the discussion on at least two specific zoonotic diseases/infections/topics over the course of the semester. 
Additionally, written material will be submitted to accompany each of the oral presentations in the form of 1) a fact sheet to be used as material for a website or 2) a topical review of the literature. Students are required to do 1 factsheet and 1 topical review (e.g. If the student chooses “Plague” as their first topic and prepares a fact sheet on Plague then the second topic should have a topical review of that second selected topic). 
Oral Presentations        
For each oral presentation, the presenter should:
  • Prepare learning objectives relating to your assigned disease/topic.  These should be clearly stated for the audience.
  • Briefly present recent research findings pertinent to your disease topic.
  • Prepare a situation problem relating to your assigned disease/topic for class discussion.
  • Be prepared to serve as a resource person for questions relating to your assigned topic or disease.
  • Presentations should be less than 30 minutes. Please allow 5 minutes for questions.
Please provide PowerPoint presentations preferably 24 hours prior to the class presentation. This will allow instructors to upload on the course computer and to make copies for the class. Please coordinate with the instructors as to equipment availability or special requests. 
Fact Sheet
The fact sheet should be written for a lay audience (please indicate the intended audience – e.g. children, travelers, pregnant women, etc.) and include relevant information about the agent, modes of transmission, reservoir(s), preventive measures, and additional websites for further information. With author’s permission, selected fact sheets may be put on the College of Veterinary Medicine Website. See attached example.
Topical Review of the Literature
The brief review should be a critical review of the literature. The written critical review should include a review of recent scientific literature (within the last 5 to 10 years), which adds to or differs significantly from well-established information. Do not hesitate to indicate if you disagree with the recommended text(s) or recent publications.
Also, suggest epidemiological studies needed to clarify or fill in the gaps in current knowledge. Be aware of data-free analyses. Do not repeat what is in the texts.
Each review should not exceed 4 typewritten pages (with references). Please hand into instructor(s) the day of the class presentation. 

In addition, examples of recent outbreaks or surveillance data should be included from sources such as: 
  • Weekly Morbidity and Mortality Reports (MMWR) –
  • Periodic Surveillance Reports from Center for Disease Control and Prevention
  • State Health Department newsletters or bulletins
  • World Health Organization weekly epidemiologic reports ( or other related reports (
  • Recent scientific journal articles
  • Personal experience
Method of Evaluation (A/F)
Students are expected to actively participate in all class discussions. A 100 total points are possible. Grades will be based on the following:
50 points - Two assigned topics
25 points per topic (15 points for the oral presentation, and 10 points for either the fact sheet or topical review)
20 points - Periodic quizzes                                                   
10 points - Class discussion and participation
20 points - Written final (take home, open-book) examination
This course is offered A/F or S/N
A/F letter grade will be determined by total effort as follows:
  • A = 93-100% (4.0), Represents achievement that is outstanding relative to the level necessary to meet course requirements.
  • A- = 90-92%
  • B+ = 87-89%
  • B = 83-86% (3.0), Represents achievement that is significantly above the level necessary to meet course requirements.
  • B- = 80-82%
  • C+ = 77-79%
  • C = 73-76% (2.0), Represents achievement that meets the minimum course requirements.
  • C- = 70-72%
  • D+ = 67-69%
  • D = 63-66% (1.0), Achievement below minimum course expectations but sufficient to be awarded credit.
  • D- = 60-62%                                     
  • F = below 60%, Represents failure (or no credit) and signifies that the work was either (1) completed but at a level of achievement that is not worthy of credit or (2) was not completed and there was no agreement between the instructor and the student that the student would be awarded an I.
Students will also be asked to anonymously evaluate peer presentations.
Note: Any student with a documented disability (e.g. physical, learning, psychiatric, vision, hearing, etc.) who needs to arrange reasonable accommodations please contact the Instructor and Disability Services.
Absentee Policy 
You are allowed to miss two classes during the fall semester. However, you are responsible for obtaining the handout materials on topics covered during your absence. Missing more than two sessions will require a special assignment to be arranged with the instructor.
Possible Reference Texts
  • (2004). Control of Communicable Diseases Manual, American Public Health Association. D.L. Heymann, Editor               
  • (2005). Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. Sixth Ed. Philadelphia, Elsevier, Churchill Livingstone. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett Editors.               
  • Acha, P. N., B. Szyfres, et al. (2003). Zoonoses and Communicable Diseases Common to Man and Animals. Washington, D.C., Pan American Health Organization. Pan American Sanitary Bureau.               
  • American Veterinary Medical Association. (1995). Zoonosis updates from the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Schaumburg, Ill., The American Veterinary Medical Association.               
  • Beran, G. W. (1994). Handbook of Zoonoses. Boca Raton, FL, CRC Press.                               
  • Hugh-Jones, M. E., W. T. Hubbert, et al. (1995). Zoonoses: Recognition, Control, and Prevention. Ames, Iowa State University Press. 
  • Krauss, Hartmut, et. al.(2003) Zoonoses: infectious diseases transmissible from animals to humans. 3rd Edition, Washington DC, ASM Press.                                               
  • Palmer, S. R., E. J. L. Soulsby, et al. (1998). Zoonoses: biology, clinical practice, and public health control. Oxford ; New York, Oxford University Press.                          
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
World Health Organization
Minnesota Department of Health
University of Minnesota, Center for Animal Health and Food Safety

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