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Infectious Disease Trends and Nursing Epidemiology


This paper studies infectious disease trends and nurses’ role in epidemiology. It defines the commonly used terms and discusses how caregivers can reduce contaminations. The report features three current diseases caused by hepatitis A, Vibrio, and Salmonella viruses, and analyzes how Healthy People 2020 initiative addresses them. Finally, it suggests strategies for managing infectious diseases based on the example of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) prevention and treatment. The paper proves that infectious diseases are an acute problem but their effects and outbreaks can be eliminated.

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The Role of Nursing in Epidemiology

Epidemiology is a branch of medicine that studies the incidence of diseases, the methods of their distribution, and the determinants of individuals’ health. To understand how nursing is connected with epidemiology, it is necessary to address the terminology the discipline uses. The following definitions were suggested by the World Health Organization. An outbreak is an unexpected increase in the number of cases of infection. Incidence refers to the number of newly diagnosed cases within a defined period in a specified population. Prevalence can be determined as a proportion of individuals being infected at a certain point in time (World Health Organization, 2016). The presented terms are core for epidemiology.

Nurses’ role in epidemiology should not be underestimated. According to Altin and Stock (2015), nurses can provide patients with information about infectious diseases, identify their risk factors, inform them about the available methods of prevention. Caregivers can also study recent outbreaks to assess the risks for the local population. It is necessary to point out that caregivers are usually the first people with whom individuals discuss their concerns. Therefore, nurses’ role in assessment, diagnosing, and providing psychological support is crucial.

Current Infectious Diseases Evaluation

According to the report made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recent infectious diseases in the US include hepatitis A, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, and Salmonella contaminations. Hepatitis A has occurred in 2017 among individuals using injection and non-injection drugs, as well as homeless people and their close contacts. The most affected states are Arkansas, California, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017). The symptoms include fever, headache, and malaise, but the diagnosis should be confirmed by blood testing.

The outbreak of Vibrio parahaemolyticus (2018) was caused by the consumption of fresh crab meat from Venezuela. Currently, there are 12 people infected with the virus (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018). The affected states include Maryland, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. The report shows that it takes two to four weeks to become infected, which means that more illnesses might be reported later. The symptoms of vibriosis typically include diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.

The outbreak of Salmonella in 2018 was associated with the consumption of pre-cut melon. It has affected around 70 people with a median age of 67, more than 50% of them were hospitalized (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018). The most affected states are Indiana, Michigan, and Missouri. The symptoms can include sudden bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and nausea.

Healthy People 2020 Objectives

Two of the mentioned cases of infections are associated with Healthy People 2020 objectives considering food safety. One of the goals of the initiative is to reduce diseases caused by the Salmonella species that are commonly transmitted through food. Healthy People program’s target is to minimize the cases of contamination down to 11,4 per 100,000 population (The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2018). It is notable that the number of infections has been declining since 2010. The initiative also plans to diminish the cases of illnesses caused by Vibrio species down to 0,2 per 100,000 (The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2018). Healthy People aims to cover hepatitis A vaccine among children of 19 to 35 months as well as reduce the disease to 0,3 new cases per 100,000 (The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2018).

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Strategies for Reducing Infectious Diseases

It is necessary to analyze evidence-based practices used for reducing infectious diseases to learn how medical professionals can prevent or treat them. For example, in the case of sexually transmitted diseases, there are five strategies nurses can follow to control the spread of infections (Workowski & Bolan, 2015). It is necessary to accurately assess the risks of individuals’ contamination and provide them with information about the ways to avoid the diseases. Those methods include the use of contraception while having sexual contacts and changes in sexual behavior, for example, limiting the number of sexual partners. For vaccine-preventable STDs, pre-exposure vaccination of individuals can be utilized to reduce the risk. It is also necessary to consider both typical and atypical symptoms while diagnosing sexually-transmitted diseases; conducting additional testing is crucial. Finally, a medical professional should provide treatment and counseling not only to infected individuals but their sexual partners as well. A similar strategy can be applied to reduce other infectious diseases.


It is necessary to mention that infectious diseases are preventable and care providers can make a significant contribution to reduce them. Nurses play a crucial role in contamination prevention, as they can be the sources of information for patients. Recent outbreaks of infectious diseases, including hepatitis A, Salmonella, and Vibrio infections prove that the issue has to be addressed and controlled. Healthy People 2020 aims to reduce the cases of contamination. However, it is the medical professionals’ responsibility to implement strategies for the infectious diseases elimination.


Altin, S., & Stock, S. (2015). Health literate health care organizations and their role in future health care. Journal of Nursing and Care, 4, 1-3.

The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2018). Food safety. Objectives. Web.

The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2018). Immunization and infectious diseases. Objectives. Web.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Multistate outbreak of Salmonella Adelaide infections linked to pre-cut melon. Web.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Multistate outbreak of Vibrio parahaemolyticus infections linked to fresh crab meat imported from Venezuela. Web.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Outbreaks of hepatitis A in multiple states among people who use drugs and/or people who are homeless. Web.

Workowski, K. A., & Bolan, G. A. (2015). Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2015. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Recommendations and Reports, 64(RR3), 1-137.

World Health Organization. (2016). WHO malaria terminology. Web.

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