Epidemiology vs Virology

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  • Thread starter radical6
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radical6
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Hi,

Since I was a kid I've always wanted to study disease. I'm graduating HS soon and my major will be microbiology. I know I want to do something related to disease, but I'm not sure what specifically.

Do epidemiologists work in the field, or is it more of a sit back and statistics job? Do they work in a lab? I want a mix between both. Ideally, I would want to study symptoms or outbreaks. I am also interested in studying the virus itself. I basically want a mixture of field experience and lab research. I think the idea of traveling to outbreaks and tracking how they spread is fascinating, but also looking at a microscope or observing a virus is interesting too.

If I go into epidemiology, would it be more useful to just go into Public Health?

Thank you
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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While not directly relevant to your immediate question, have you read the Hot Zone book? It was about an outbreak of Reston virus in a Reston Virginia monkey lab killing many monkeys before the govt stepped in and quarrantined the place and where several of the handlers got infected. At the time, they thought it might be an outbreak of ebola. We dodged a bullet that day.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hot_Zone
Epidemiology is a broader science covering anything that can affect human populations:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidemiology
whereas virology is more specific to how viruses operate:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virology
Lastly, I think NOVA had a show on the Ebola crisis and history of the disease.

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/virus-wars.html
And there was a Matt Damon movie called Contagion that chronicled a deadly but fictitious virus outbreak, the hysteria and how we might battle it. I felt it was pretty compelling to watch.
 
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