A group of UTMB students recently completed the PMCH listed graduate course Field Epidemiology on site in Peru. Clinton White coordinated and sponsored the course on the UTMB side. PMCH affiliated students and residents participating included: Miguel Cabada and Janet Appleton (Clinical Science), Katie McQuade and Miles Farr (Public Health), and Ashley Maltz (General Preventive Medicine).
Dr. Cabada and White report: The course activities evolved around the investigation of a simulated outbreak of febrile illness in a town in north Peru. During a 2 week period, the 10 steps of an outbreak investigation proposed by CDC were introduced and applied directly in the field. Work was intense, exciting, and focused on hands on activities. We learned about rapid response teams, logistics for field activities, cases and controls tracing, vector and reservoir trapping, handling, dissection, and specimen collection. We also learned about vector control, surveillance of influenza virus reservoirs, and eradication of human and animal cysticercosis. Overall, we learned that team work and field epidemiology are a lot of fun and can make a difference in the life of people in resource poor settings. We are grateful to Dr. Guillermo “Willy” Lescano and his team for making us work hard, learn a lot, and enjoy wonderful Peruvian food.