Describe key aspects of public health. Identify current patterns of ill health and inequality in the UK (P3)

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Describe key aspects of public health (P1)

An epidemiologist needs to know several things to able to study the spread of disease in the human population. This is so that they can understand the spread of infection to help over come or stop a crisis of an epidemic.

These are some of the things that they would analyse and measure within their studies.


In public health rate is the measurement of the frequency of occurrence. 

Prevalence rate

This is the number of all people with a disease or condition in a given population at a specific time, either a point in time or over a period of time.

Incident rate

This measures only new cases of a disease or condition in question in a population over a specific period of time.

Morbidity rates

Morbidity rates measure the incidents of diseases within a specific time period.

Mortality rates

Morbidity rate is the measure of the number of people that have died in a specific time scale.  

Other things that an epidemiologist may study are:-

Age- this might include the study of age ranges that have encountered the specific disease.  

Gender- although this is not a focused are of study in epidemiology considering gender would still be a possibility.  

Social class- This will include studying the people from different social backgrounds and how the money and social issue could have an effect on the amount of people in a specific social class  may encounter the a specific disease.  

Geographical location- This will include looking and the environment that groups of people that have encountered the specific disease to asses if this could go been an influence of the disease in question. For example some areas may have a higher level of pollution then others.  


Also an epidemiologist will consider and measure the number of people with the disease they may not have been diagnoses and also the number of people that have been diagnosed with the disease. They also look for any trends that may be occurring in specific areas and groups of people.

Health screening

Screening is the recognition of unrecognised disease or defect by the relevance procedures such as clinical tests and examinations witch can be carried out with a result quicker then waiting for the disease to show.

Screening can be a contentious issue and most of the people that are being examined will not have the condition that they have been examined for.

When the disease has been identified treatment can then be instigated. Also screening can help people n society that need to be more investigated then other for example people over the age of 50 may be called in for a screening test as this is an age were many complication and conditions may develop due to the aging process.

There are several types of screening that can be offered one of witch in cervical smear for that screens for cervical cancer. This includes a having regular Papanicolaou tests or pap smears. A Pap smear is a microscopic examination of cells taken from the cervix. A Pap smear can detect certain viral infections (such as human papillomavirus [HPV]) and other cancer-causing conditions. Early treatment of these conditions can stop cervical cancer before it fully develops. A woman may have cervical cancer and not know it because she may not have any symptoms.

  As screening can be one way to control the spread of infections there are other more effective ways such as infectious disease notification. This requires doctors to notify the local of any infectious disease that they have suspicions of by any patient that is suffering from a communicable disease this is a legal requirement and must do so as the law states. This allows the local medical officer to receive any information on risks of a non communicable disease so that they can take actions to prevent the disease from spreading.  

The local medical officer is also responsible for gathering and monitoring the notifications they have been given and then pass on the figured from there local area to a national centre so the disease can be monitored further. If these measures were not taken, then a communicable disease can spread rapidly effecting communities which can lead to a large number of deaths and then also spread further such as nationally or even global. There are many type of communicable disease such as small pox. This communicable disease can be a fatal one and has been since medieval times. Symptoms that have been advised to look out for are

  • High fever
  • Fatigue
  • Severe headache
  • Backache
  • Malaise
  • Rash, raised and pink on the skin, starting centrally and spreading outwards. (First the mucosa of the mouth and throat, then face, forearms, trunk, and legs. Rash turns to pus-filled lesions that become crusty on the eighth or ninth day.)
  • Delirium
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea

In 1717 inoculation of small pox was introduced to the U.K from Turkey. Edward Jenner realised that people that already hade cow pox never got small pox so he experimented variolation on a small chilled that had small pox. This was then created into a vaccination and was made available free from the 1840’s. Not until vaccination became compulsory, that most children in Britain were protected

If a communicable disease is not detected or monitored then this can lead to a wide spread in a community with can lead to an epidemic and then due to this not being controlled and measured can easily lead to a pandemic killing and infecting people.  

Active immunity

A vaccine stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies to fight diseases without us actually becoming infected with the disease. Vaccines trigger the immune system to produce its own antibodies against disease, as though the body has been infected with it. This is called 'active immunity'. If the vaccinated person then comes into contact with the disease itself, their immune system will recognise it and immediately produce the antibodies needed to fight it.

Passive immunity

Passive immunity is a form of immunity which occurs when antibodies are transferred from one person to another individual, or when antibodies of animal origin are introduced to a human usually described as synthetic. This type of immunity is short acting, and is typically seen in cases where a patient needs immediate protection from something and he or she cannot form antibodies quickly enough independently.


An epidemic outbreak of disease that affects a much greater number of people than is unusual for the locality or that spreads to regions where it is ordinarily not present. An example of an epidemic can be an out break of influenza.


A pandemic is a global occurrence of a serious disease that exceeds the "ordinary" levels of mortality and infection levels for specific disease. Example of a pandemic can be AIDS. AIDS was first recognized in 1981 and since has led to the deaths of more than 25 million people. AIDS is a global disease and is commonly spread through sexual intercourse. Due to it being classed as s ‘back door’ diseases were signs will not show straight away, most people that have been infected with this disease  will not know they have till some time after so there for spread the disease to other people. Also due to people traveling to other countries the disease is able to spread global.

Describe the origins of public health in the UK (P2)

19th centaury

Public health was first introduced in the 19th century when the poor law system cam into effect. The poor law was a system that people that were poor wore put into work houses and were clothed and had food to eat.

Also children that were put into the work house would receive some schooling to a certain degree. Due do this support that the work house offered in return the people in the work house would have to work long hours and condition were very harsh so that this would deter people from wanting to go to the work house. There system consisted of men women and children separated from each other even if they went in as a family and also punishment was very harsh and frequent to people who did not adhere to the rules. Food and living condition were also very poor and inadequate. It was designed to be harsh so people would try to make their own way of living without depending on the state to do it for them. People within the work house were made feel like unimportant and a ‘drain’ on society.  

In the 19th century industrialisation was important as this is how people were able make a living due the many factories such as manufacturing, mining, and transport had a profound effect on the socioeconomic and cultural conditions starting in the United Kingdom. Not only did it bring new jobs and labor to people it also brought in materials from overseas helping the UK to develop further with Knowledge and agriculture.

On the other hand industrialisation and the increase of cities due to people moving from the country to towns because of job opportunities played a part in concerns on the environment witch bought poor housing, unclean water supplies and miasma and the impact this would have on the health of those working in this environment. Also due to so many people moving to the cities for job opportunities this hindered the opportunities available as more people were coming to hoe many jobs were available.  

Living conditions during the Industrial Revolution varied from the splendors of the homes of the owners to the squalor of the lives of the workers. Poor people lived in very small houses in cramped narrow streets. These homes would share toilet facilities, have open sewers and would be at risk of damp and disease was spread through a contaminated water supply. Due to poor sewage condition people would through human and animal excrement in the streets witch lead to disease and bad smells.

Edward Chadwick

Edward Chadwick (1800-1890) was a campaigner on a number of public health issues witch included the poor housing and working conditions and sanitary reform. He was also a big influence on the first the first public health act (1848) Chadwick mad a report on the issues to sanitary conditions of the labouring population in 1842 witch consisted of evidence and links to the relationship between the environment issues poverty and ill health. He also recommended that a local authority alongside experts such as medical and civil engineering advice should administer all sanitary issues.

Joseph Bazalgette

Joseph Bazalgette was a Chief Engineer on London’s Metropolitan Board of Works; Bazalgette was primarily responsible for the creation of the extensive network of sewers under the streets of central London. Due to the great stink in 1885 the houses of parliament become affected with the smell and gave Bazalgette the go ahead for the starting point of the sewer system.  

The new sewers made probably the single greatest contribution to improving the health of Victorian Londoners and the bulk of the system remains in use today. In addition, it physically changed the appearance of riverside London and the nature of the River Thames by building 83 miles of sewers that prevented raw sewage from running into Thames.    

John Snow

John Snow (1813-1855) was involved in the link of drinking water in the spread of cholera. John snow had analysed that people that had drunk from a specific water company had higher cases of contracting cholera then those who had not. He studied this by using a map of the street and plotting all the cases of cholera on the map from were they live. From this he had identified that all the people that were being affected from cholera were obtaining there water form a single pump that its supplies came from a sewage that was contaminated, witch was the river Thames. On the other hand people using near by to obtain there water had not been affected. This was the first establishment that cholera and water had a connexion. Due to identifying were cholera was coming from john snow removed the handle of the broad street pump which haltered the out break of cholera in Soho.  

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John Simon

John Snow the fourth founder of public health and a professional physician succeeded Edwin Chadwick in his application to health administration. He became a medical officer to the bored of health in 1855. He also helped to put into place their first sewage systems in through the 1850s to the 1860s with the help of scientists and engineers. The sanity act 1866 put into place a duty of inspection on local authorities witch extended there rand of sanity powers witch could target any local authorities not compelling with the sanity act.    



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