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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology
Fundamentals of epidemiology (EPID 168)

Multilingual information resources for epidemiologists

Epidemiologic terminology, abbreviations, and notation

Standardization of terminology and notation has not yet been achieved in this field. Each institution, perhaps each author, has a different style. For example, some authors (and lecturers) are emphatic about presenting their 2-by-2 tables with disease status along the left; others present the disease status across the top; others choose the orientation according to the type of study involved; still others adopt no set pattern.

What one writer calls "incidence" is another's "incidence rate", one epidemiologist's "relative risk" is another's "odds ratio", and the case-control study design has been called "case-history", "case-referent", "case-comparend", "retrospective", and even "trohoc" ("cohort" spelled backwards). So do not expend much effort on memorizing precise definitions from your reading. We will give you our definitions of terms where precision will be important for our own communication.

A Dictionary of Epidemiology (John M. Last, 3 ed., NY: Oxford, sponsored by the International Epidemiological Association), now in its third edition, is hopefully standardizing usages in the field. We try to make our use of terms consistent with those in the Dictionary. Please call it to our attention should we lapse in that attempt.

Epidemiology in languages other than English

Here is a VERY partial list of epidemiology resources in languages other than English (please bring others to my attention):

  • Chinese: China Education and Research Network (CERNET) - www.cernet.edu.cn
  • Deutsch: Ursula Ackermann-Liebrich, Felix Gutzwiller, Ulrich Keil and Michael Kunze. Epidemiologie 2. Auflage 1990 Meducation Foundation, Clyancourt Corporation AG, CH-6330 Cham. ISBN 3-905283-21-2
  • Español: Tapia Granados JA, Diez Roux AV, Nieto FJ. GLOEPI: An English-Spanish glossary of epidemiologic and statistical terms [in Spanish]. Bol Oficína Sanit Panam 1994;117(3):239-57.
  • Español: Boletín Epidemiológico de la Organización Panamericana de la Salud (www.paho.org)
  • Español: CDC en español ofrece información acerca del salud de los Centros Para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades; incluye enlaces a algunos web sites en español (www.cdc.gov/spanish)
  • Español: Enfermedades Infecciosas Emergentes [Traducción al Castellano de Emerging Infectious Diseases publicada por el CDC (USA Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)] (http://EIE.unizar.es)
  • Español: Instituto Columbiano para el Desarrollo de la Ciencia y la Tecnología (Colociencias)
  • Español: Fundación para Investigaciones Ambientales ofrece "Noticias y recursos para la justicia ambiental. Brindando información científica comprensible sobre la salud y el medio ambiente." (tiene semanario, biblioteca, sitios web relacionados, ecc.).
  • Español: Red Latinoamericana de investigación en violencia y sociedad (RELATIVOS) facilita la integración de conocimientos cientícos relacionados con la violencia en el ambiente social de América Latina y desde la perspectiva de múltiples disciplinas y ayuda a sus miembros a contactar individuos o instituciones involucradas en investigación en violencia en América Latina.
  • Français: Toma B, Benet J-J, Dufour B, Eloit M, Moutou F, Sanaa M. Glossaire d'epidémiologie animale. Editions du point veterinaire. Paris 1991. ISBN 2. 86326-087-1
  • Français: Hennekens, Charles and Julie Buring. Épidémiologie en médecine. Editions Frison-Roche, Paris, 1998
  • Italiano: Epidemiologia e prevenzione, journal of the Italian Epidemiologic Association (http://zadig.it, Epiprev@zadig.it)
  • Multilingual: The Global Health Network (www.pitt.edu/HOME/GHNet/GHNet.html - case matters) has information in Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, German, Chinese, Turkish & Taiwanese.
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Victor_Schoenbach@unc.edu, 8/31/2000, 2/18/2001, 4/15/2001