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Table of Contents
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-6

Molecular epidemiology and infectious disease agent typing terminology – A revised glossary of key terms

Northern Ireland Public Health Laboratory, Belfast City Hospital, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

Date of Submission21-Dec-2021
Date of Acceptance14-Feb-2022
Date of Web Publication23-Mar-2022

Correspondence Address:
John E Moore
Northern Ireland Public Health Laboratory, Belfast City Hospital, Lisburn Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland, BT9 7AD
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jpdtsm.jpdtsm_2_21

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Epidemiological tracking of infectious diseases is important to help determine the source and routes of transmission of the causal agent, whether this be a virus, bacterium, fungus, or parasite. This can be complicated due to the diagnostic typing tools employed and the terminologies used can be unfamiliar to the nonspecialist, who needs to be able to understand the terms used. Therefore, we have developed an up-to-date glossary of 95 related epidemiological terms from peer-reviewed publications to help in the understanding of these terms, particularly with a nonspecialist audience.

Keywords: Genotype, infection, molecular epidemiology, phenotype, typing

How to cite this article:
Millar BC, Moore JE. Molecular epidemiology and infectious disease agent typing terminology – A revised glossary of key terms. J Prev Diagn Treat Strategies Med 2022;1:1-6

How to cite this URL:
Millar BC, Moore JE. Molecular epidemiology and infectious disease agent typing terminology – A revised glossary of key terms. J Prev Diagn Treat Strategies Med [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 May 24];1:1-6. Available from: http://www.jpdtsm.com/text.asp?2022/1/1/1/340551

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 as the viral etiological agent of COVID-19 disease within the context of a global pandemic has placed great emphasis on the understanding of epidemiological terms with health-care professionals, patients, academics, journalists, and the wider public, in order to support effective scientific and clinical communication, relating to the pandemic. With the general public, effective communication of the terminology surrounding nosocomial infection and outbreaks may positively help to influence better infection prevention behaviors. Practicing infection prevention and control (IPC) professionals, including the Medical Microbiologist and the Infection Control Nurse are often the frontline health-care staff interfacing with other health-care professionals from other respective multidisciplinary (MDT) disciplines, as well as being the health-care professionals interacting with patients, carers, family members, and visitors, relating to queries about nosocomial infection and outbreaks. It is therefore important to equip health-care professionals and academics with up-to-date definitions of related terminology, to address the needs of these stakeholders.

Definitions are important in IPC of infectious diseases, in order to (i) provide concise insight on a specific topic, (ii) provide a common understanding, and (iii) set reference points to allow the adoption of a standard uniform approach. There has been a paucity of definitions relating to epidemiology, molecular epidemiology, and typing of infectious disease agents within the scientific and medical peer-reviewed literature, particularly with the emergence of COVID-19.

Therefore, it was the aim of this glossary to collate definitions to 95 associated keyterms, from international and respected souces of information, associated with terminologies associated with infectious diseases. A glossary of 95 keyterms is presented [Table 1], as a discoverable and citable resource within the contemporary scientific and medical literature, as a reference point for all stakeholders interested in the vocabulary of epidemiology, molecular epidemiology, and infectious disease typing terminology. Accessible and robust definitions help inform such dialog to achieve the goal of better understanding.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10],[11]
Table 1: Glossary of key terms

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (CDC). An Introduction to Applied Epidemiology and Biostatistics. In: Principles of Epidemiology in Public Health Practice 3rd ed. Atlanta Georgia, USA: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2012.Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/csels/dsepd/ss1978/glossary.html. [Last accessed on 2021 Sep 10].  Back to cited text no. 1
Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Methods of Decontamination. Available from: https://www.hse.gov.uk/biosafety/blood-borne-viruses/methods-of-decontamination.htm. [Last accessed 2021 Sep 10].  Back to cited text no. 2
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (CDC). Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities. Atlanta, USA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2008. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/disinfection/glossary.html#S. [Last accessed 2021 Sep 10].  Back to cited text no. 3
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC): Field Epidemiology Manual. In: Microbial Typing. Stockholm, Sweden: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control; 2016. Available from: https://wiki.ecdc.europa.eu/fem/Pages/Microbial%20typing.aspx. [Last accessed 2021 Sep 10].  Back to cited text no. 4
Last JM, editor. Dictionary of Epidemiology. 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press; 2001. p. 61.  Back to cited text no. 5
Institute of Medicine (US) Forum on Microbial Threats. The Science and Applications of Microbial Genomics: Workshop Summary. US: National Academies Press; 2013.  Back to cited text no. 6
Li W, Raoult D, Fournier PE. Bacterial strain typing in the genomic era. FEMS Microbiol Rev 2009;33:892-916.  Back to cited text no. 7
Ei PW, Aung WW, Lee JS, Choi GE, Chang CL. Molecular strain typing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis: A review of frequently used methods. J Korean Med Sci 2016;31:1673-83.  Back to cited text no. 8
EFSA: EFSA BIOHAZ Panel (EFSA Panel on Biological Hazards), 2014. Scientific Opinion on the evaluation of molecular typing methods for major food-borne microbiological hazards and their use for attribution modelling, outbreak investigation and scanning surveillance: Part 2 surveillance and data management activities). EFSA J 2014;12:3784.  Back to cited text no. 9
Hart G. Screening to control infectious diseases: Evaluation of control programs for gonorrhea and syphilis. Rev Infect Dis 1980;2:701-12.  Back to cited text no. 10
Nature Education. SNP Definition. Available from: https://www.nature.com/scitable/definition/snp-295/. [Last accessed 2021 Sep 10].  Back to cited text no. 11


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