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  Module 5

Investigation 1-5
A Mysterious Ailment


Students read a 1981 column about a mysterious ailment (AIDS, before it was called AIDS and before HIV was identified) and identify the descriptive epidemiological clues that led to the formulation of early causal hypotheses.  To further understand the value of descriptive epidemiology, students predict what the descriptive epidemiology of this mysterious ailment would be if it were caused by mosquito bites, sitting on toilet seats, donating blood, or shaking hands.  Students realize that descriptive epidemiology is sometimes useful in determining that certain causal hypotheses do not make sense.

Investigation Preparation Checklist

Check alignment with standards.

National or State file

Review Epidemiology Background for Module 1.

Word or PDF file

Review teacher's notes and slides:  [en espaņol:]

  • Not animated.  Recommended for quick viewing.
  • PDF: 398KB

  • Not animated.  Recommended for printing.
  • Word: 2,140KB

  • Animated viewing with Microsoft Internet Explorer.
  • HTML Web file: 1,300KB

  • Animated viewing with Netscape or other browser.
  • PowerPoint file: 871KB

    Copy article, "A Mysterious Ailment," for each
    student to be read in class.

    Word or PDF file

    Review highlighted copy of "A Mysterious Ailment."

    Word or PDF file

    Copy Investigation 1-5: Epi Log Worksheet for each student.  [en espaņol:]

    Word or PDF file

    Estimated Time / Time Management

    Approximately one class period.  Time can be shortened by assigning the reading of the article for homework prior to the class.

    Look For Students To:

    Identify actual descriptive epidemiologic evidence for a new disease.

    Categorize descriptive epidemiologic clues accurately.

    Identify hypotheses for the cause of a new disease.

    Identify descriptive epidemiologic clues that support a given hypothesis.

    Identify descriptive epidemiologic clues that do not support a given hypothesis.