Single-Course English 5 ECTS

Surveillance and epidemiology of infectious diseases

Overall Course Objectives

The field of infectious disease epidemiology is diverse and covers everything from studying the natural history of infectious diseases and their distribution within populations to identifying new methods for treating infected patients and preventing the spread of disease. This course will introduce the key concepts, methods, and common applications of quantitative epidemiological approaches for modelling and forecasting the spread, and identifying risk factors and drivers (e.g. climate change, urbanisation) for infectious diseases. Studies to investigate the effect of interventions to reduce transmission will be reviewed, and will include studies on how to investigate the efficacy and safety of (new) vaccines and treatments. Surveillance of infectious diseases is key to identifying and preventing outbreaks (e.g., tick surveillance to provide early warning for Lyme disease), follow trends, and detect unexpected adverse effects resulting from implemented interventions. A part of this course will therefore present the main objectives for surveillance, and explain how to develop and evaluate the effect of surveillance programmes including an evaluation of sampling plans.

Learning Objectives

  • Design and evaluate, in a team, surveillance programmes for infectious diseases, including choice of methodologies and tools
  • Assess sensitivity, specificity, and positive predictive values of diagnostic tests and surveillance programmes
  • Apply mathematical models to predict the spread of (selected) infectious diseases in defined populations
  • Perform trend analysis of infectious disease data
  • Analyse and interpret data from existing national and international surveillance programmes of infectious diseases, antimicrobial usage and antimicrobial resistance
  • Plan and perform, in a team, investigations og food and water associated disease outbreaks
  • Apply genomic data (WGS) from pathogens to elucidate transmission pathways and trace the sources of infections
  • Perform epidemiological studies to investigate global, regional, and local drivers as well as risk factors for infectious diseases
  • Perform epidemiological studies to investigate the efficacy and safety of vaccines and treatments
  • Estimate burden of disease measures for prioritization of interventions (DALY estimations)

Course Content

History of infectious diseases; viral, bacterial and parasitic diseases; the threat from antimicrobial resistance; zoonoses and species jumps; design and evaluation of surveillance systems; design and interpretation of epidemiological studies; causality versus association; modelling the spread of infectious diseases using differential and stochastic models (e.g. SIR and agent-based models); understanding global, regional and local drivers of infectious diseases including impact of climate change and increasing urbanisation; One Health: understanding the interaction between animal, human and environmental health; methods for identifying drivers and risk factors of infectious diseases using regression and Bayesian modelling techniques; methods for investigating efficacy and safety of vaccines and treatments; ecological studies; using whole genome sequencing data (WGS) for prediction; big data and digital epidemiology.

Recommended prerequisites

Teaching Method

Lectures, exercises, group work

See course in the course database.





13 weeks




DTU Lyngby Campus

Course code 23261
Course type Candidate
Semester start Week 5
Semester end Week 19
Days Mon 13-17

7.500,00 DKK