Epidemiology is a quantitative field which requires individuals to have knowledge of probability and statistics. It can also be described as a method of casual reasoning that is based on creating and testing the hypotheses involving the occurrence and prevention of a given disease. Arguably, epidemiology is an effective tool used in promoting and protecting the health of the public based on science and casual reasoning. The use of vital statistics in epidemiology began in 1600s and statistical methods have been of great importance to epidemiologists since then (Timmreck 105-106). This essay discusses the importance of statistics in epidemiology.
Statistics play a leading role in epidemiology and it serves as an important tool for epidemiologists. With an increase in infectious diseases in most parts of the world, the work of epidemiologists is increasingly becoming vital in developing effective ways to prevent such diseases. Statistical tools can be used to select individuals and analyze the data collected (Jewell 2). The use of statistics enables them to analyze the spread and control of illnesses in a more effective manner. More so, statistics help epidemiologists to draw conclusions about a certain population using available information from a sample.
In addition, statistics allow epidemiologists to make inference about the correlation of the cause and effect of a disease in a given population. If an epidemiologist is focused on finding whether vulnerability enhances the risk of a disease, he would take a sample in the population of interest and use statistics to make inferences. This is an effective way to have an idea of the health and risk factors of a given population. It is rare to find individual information on the status of the illness and risk factors for the whole population (Jewell 2). Therefore, epidemiologists prefer taking a sample because the information on a certain condition may be unavailable for all individuals in the population being studied.
Moreover, statistics help in determining whether any observed correlation of exposure and the risk of a disease in the random sample is a justified one. Statistics involves presenting facts and so it assists epidemiologists to put forward information or observation that is actually true. Agreeably, a correlation will be observed even if it is very small, and so the use of statistics will help in determining whether the correlation is different from what would happen by chance.
Notably, statistics has been of great importance in epidemiology as it has been used in evaluating the vulnerability and the risk of a disease in order to determine any possible link. However, epidemiologists have stopped relying on statistical methods following the massive data sets emerging. Actually, the arising modern epidemiological problems and enormous sets of data require more powerful computational methods than statistical methods.
In conclusion, epidemiologists are mainly concerned with finding the relationship between an exposure and increased risk of diseases. They normally take a random sample to determine this and so statistics help them in various ways. Basically, the use of statistics helps the epidemiologist to analyze the spread of prevention of infectious diseases. Statistics is useful in drawing conclusions and making inferences and determining the correlation of vulnerability and risk of a disease. Undeniably, statistics is very important in epidemiology but with rise of huge data sets and complicated epidemiological problems, statistical methods have become less appropriate.
Jewell, Nicholas P. Statistics for Epidemiology. Boca Raton, Florida, CRC Press, 2003.
Timmreck, Thomas C. An Introduction to Epidemiology. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2002. Print.