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Case study

A novel coronavirus outbreak: a teaching case-study

A novel coronavirus outbreak: a teaching case-study

Haitham Bashier1,&, Yousef Khader1, Ruba Al-Souri1, Ilham Abu-Khader1


1The Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network (EMPHNET), Amman, Jordan



&Corresponding author
Haitham Bashier, The Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network (EMPHNET), Amman, Jordan




Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei, China, and has resulted in an ongoing pandemic. Common symptoms include fever, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, and loss of smell and taste. While the majority of cases result in mild symptoms, some progress to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) possibly precipitated by cytokine storm, multi-organ failure, septic shock, and blood clots. The time from exposure to onset of symptoms is typically around five days, but may range from two to fourteen days. This case study stimulates the trainees to consolidate their knowledge and improve their public health practices to detect, timely respond to threating pandemics and control/prevent them. Case studies allow trainees to build competencies in analyzing and interpreting data in order to make decisions on containing similar public health threats with consideration of the political context. The case study is designed for the training of intermediate and advanced Field Epidemiology trainees; it can be administered in 6 hours.



How to use this case study    Down

General instructions: this case study should be used as adjunct training material for intermediate/advanced level FETP residents to reinforce the concepts taught in prior lectures. The case study is ideally taught by a facilitator in smaller groups of about 6-8 participants. Participants take turns reading the case study, usually one paragraph per student. The facilitator guides the discussion on possible responses to questions. It is important that facilitators encourage discussion and critical thinking, rather than emphasize a focus on the correct answer, as discussion questions do not have a single correct response. The facilitator may use flip charts or other display methods to illustrate certain points. Additional instructor´s notes for facilitation are coupled with each question in the instructor´s guide to aid facilitation.

Audience: this case study was developed for field epidemiology residents. However, other health care workforce working in the national and sub-national departments of epidemiology and public health surveillance whose formal training may be as medical doctors, nurses, environmental health officers, veterinary or laboratory scientists who work in public health-related fields, can be trained on this case study.

Prerequisites: before using this case study, participants should have received lectures on disease surveillance, detection and control of outbreak.

Materials needed: Flash drive, flip charts, markers, computers with MS Excel and Epi Info

Level of training and associated public health activity: intermediate and advanced FETP- Outbreak investigation

Time required: 6 hours

Language: English



Case study material Up    Down



Competing interest Up    Down

The authors declare no competing interests.



Acknowledgement Up    Down

Author would like to thank the Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network (EMPHNET) for their technical support. Author wish to acknowledge colleagues from FETPs in the region for revising the cases study and providing their feedback.



Annexes Up    Down

Annex 1: Household Transmission Investigation

Annex 2: First Few X cases FFX protocol

Annex 3: International health regulations 2005

Annex 4: Daily cases and deaths of COVID-19 in the EMR



References Up    Down

  1. Macrotrends. China Population 1950-2020. Accessed on 20 June 2020.

  2. Asian Development Bank. Economic indicators for the People's Republic of China. Accessed on 20 June 2020.