Section 2 Cases for Teaching and Learning

Case studies for Section 2, Epidemiology and the Basic Methods of Global Health.

Many of the cases here were prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to train the Epidemic Intelligence Service officers described in Mark Pendergrast’s chapter (9). Instructor’s guides for many of the CDC cases are available to teachers or students who register at


CDC, An Epidemic Disease in South Carolina

This case, written by Alexander Langmuir, founder of the Epidemic Intelligence Service, brings students through data collection and analysis in Joseph and Mary Goldberger’s landmark historical investigation of a mysterious disease in South Carolina. This case requires students to use analytic and descriptive epidemiology. It also introduces pellagra, a disease that illustrates the importance of the social determinants of health.


CDC, An Outbreak of Enteritis during a Pilgrimage to Mecca

In this outbreak investigation case, students apply epidemiology to determine the cause of a gastrointestinal illness outbreak that occurred during the Hajj.


CDC, Oswego – An Outbreak of Gastrointestinal Illness Following a Church Supper

In this classic “church supper case,” students must use epidemiology to determine which food served at a church supper made everyone sick.


CDC, An Outbreak Investigation of a Neurologic Syndrome among Factory Workers in Taiwan

In this outbreak investigation case, students use epidemiological methods (including a 2×2 table) to determine the cause of an outbreak of botulism.


CDC, Paralytic Illness in Ababo

In this case, students must design a surveillance system for polio and apply epidemiological concepts such as incidence, prevalence, morbidity, and mortality.


CDC, Surveillance for E. Coli 0157:H7 – Information for Action

Students investigate data from E. Coli infections in Oregon to learn about surveillance, including applying the concepts of epidemic, expected versus observed cases, and person/place/time.


Cynthia Morrow et al., Outbreak of Tuberculosis in a Homeless Men’s Shelter

Through an investigation of a tuberculosis outbreak in a homeless shelter in upstate New York, students apply basic epidemiological concepts including incidence, prevalence, agent/host/environment, surveillance, and prevention. The case also introduces tuberculosis and directly observed therapy (DOT).

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