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Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a highly infectious disease that is more common in children than adults. Often, whooping cough may start as a common cold or develop as a complication of swine flu (Shiel, 2018). Compared to vaccinated children, unvaccinated ones are considered to have a higher risk of developing severe symptoms of this condition. During the pertussis outbreak, it is expected that children who have not received immunization will be affected by the disease the most. It is thus important for parents of unvaccinated children to learn about the dire consequences of the neglect to have timely immunization. Currently, whooping cough vaccination is recommended to young children in order to protect them from the disease.
The term population at risk is used to describe the part of the overall population that is exposed to the occurrence of the disease. Only 25 children in Fallsburg Elementary School received an immunization from whooping cough. However, the other 35 children have not received immunization, which means that they are at risk of acquiring this disease. After reviewing the collected data in regards to elementary school students, it has been found that only 42% of them are not at risk of developing whooping cough due to obtained immunization. The other 58% of children, though, are at risk of developing the disease. This means that if exposed to the disease, 58% of children will contract it.
Understanding the concepts of incidence, prevalence, morbidity, and mortality is crucial for tracking the occurrence of the disease and its effects on the population. Prevalence measures the percentage of both old and new cases related to the total number of people (New York State Department of Health, 1999). In other words, the prevalence rate may be interpreted as the probability of selecting a person with the condition at random.
The prevalence rate should not be confused with the incidence rate which measures only the percentage of new cases related to the total number of people. This rate thus indicates the speed at which an event occurs in the particular population or the risk of contracting the disease. The prevalence rate equals the incidence rate multiplied by the duration of the disease (Gerstman, 2013). However, this is true only for the cases when the disease is rare and the population is stationary.
Morbidity is just another term for the disease, injury, or disability. Incidence and prevalence are two basic types of measuring morbidity. Measures of morbidity thus characterize the number of people who become ill (incidence) or are ill at a given time (prevalence). The concept of mortality rate measures the number of deaths due to a particular illness in a specific population (Shiel, 2018). Types of mortality rates include fetal, infant, and maternal mortality rates.
There are death-specific rates that compare mortality at different ages and cause-specific death rates that attribute a number of deaths to a specific cause. For example, the rate of mortality caused by unintentional injury among children aged 5-9 is 718 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019). At the same time, the rate of mortality caused by influenza and pneumonia for the same age category is only 62 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019). Measurement of mortality rates with differentiation of causes of death allows for identifying the leading causes of death by age groups.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Ten leading causes of death and injury. Web.
Gerstman, B. B. (2013). Chapter 3: Epidemiologic measures. In Epidemiology kept simple: An introduction to traditional and modern epidemiology (3rd ed.) Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. Web.
New York State Department of Health. (1999). Basic statistics: About incidence, prevalence, morbidity, and mortality – Statistics teaching tools. Web.
Shiel, W. C. (2018). Definition of mortality rate. Web.