cod. 14523

Academic year 2024/25
2° year of course - First semester
Professor responsible for the course unit
OSSIPRANDI Maria Cristina
integrated course unit
8 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Course unit structured in the following modules:

Learning objectives

The course aims to enable the student to know and understand elements of etiology and epidemiology, the latter useful to contextualize the diseases in population medicine.

Microbiology course is aimed at:
a. Knowledge and understanding: the course aims to provide students with basic knowledge on the interpretation models to assess, with reference to the different animal species, the major infectious diseases, especially those with zoonotic impact. Students are presented also the rationale behind the determination processes and communication of results in a system involving the following figures: pet owner, breeder, veterinary AUSL, IZS operator.
b. Applying Knowledge and understanding: the student will be able to manage the process necessary to frame a microorganism taxonomically (both clinical origin as well as from food substrate); and then proceed to identify the necessary strategies in the therapeutic field but especially for prevention and control.
c. Making judgments: students can deal profitably logical interpretation of the dynamics that rule the etiology of different pathogens (bacterial, viral or mycetic), including through the acquisition of an interpretative model suitable to interface with the different entities involved in health care system.
d. Communication skills: at the end of the course students will have acquired the capacity for problem analysis (problem solving skills), interpersonal skills and ability to express in writing and orally in an effective and appropriate language to different stakeholders (owners of animals, breeders, veterinary AUSL, responsible IZS units). The student will be able to express their conclusions on studies and analysis of health issues analyzed, explaining in
clearly their reasoning and their own lines of action (therapy, vaccination plans, preventive measures).
e. Learning skills: the course aims to enhance learning of student using a correct approach to individual study and development of guided exercises in class (during which the student has to make operational decisions and results) management.

At the and of the course od epidemiology the student in accordance to Dublin descriptors must have acquired:
D1:Knowledge and understanding. This means to know and understand the most common veterinary problems using an epidemiological aproach.
D2- Apply Knowledge and understanding. The student should cope the problems applying tests o a quantitative reasoning method, focusing particularly on disease frequency estimates, test assessments and risk factor assessment.
D3 - Making judgemet. The student must know
factor characterizing health e disease status. In addition the student must know the trasmission route of infectious diseases and their pathogenetic evolution
D4 - Comunication skills. Student must express the notions by using terms acquired during the course of epidemiology.
D- Learning skills.
The student must have the basis e the critical skills to face with indipendence complex problem by using the foundamental elements acquired during the corse, but even consulting books or scientific papers.


Medical statistics.

Course unit content

The course consists of two modules, which combine to provide elements for the future understanding of infectious diseases.
Epidemiology: study of the methods applied to the understanding of the epidemiology of diseases of veterinary interest.
Microbiology and Immunology: basic notions related to bacteriology, mycology, virology and immunology.

Full programme

1. Introduction to the study of epidemiology. Historical considerations and basic concepts. Differences between epidemiology and other diagnostic disciplines. The concept of disease determinant. Primary determinants. Secondary determinants. The concept of "population". Levels of populations.
2. Tasks and aims of epidemiology. Tasks of veterinary epidemiology. Prevention, control and eradication of diseases. The aims of epidemiological studies. Observational and experimental studies.

3. From association to causality. Demonstration of causality in observational studies. Statistical significance and causality. Chi-square test for comparing two percentages. Statistical significance tests. Association and causality: types of association. General model of causal and non-causal associations. Examples of causal and non-causal associations.

4. The epidemiological approach to the causes of disease. Henle-Koch's postulates. Evans's postulates. The Rules of John Stuart Mill. Demonstration of causality. Criteria of causality. Prospective and retrospective studies for demonstrating causality. Prevalence rate, relative risk and odds ratio.

5. Biological variability: basic concepts in epidemiology. Frequency distribution. Cumulative, median and centile frequencies. Central tendency indices. Variation indices.

6. Sampling in veterinary practice. Aims of sampling. Characteristics of a good sample. Sampling errors. Sampling methods. The variability of an estimate and confidence limits. Sample size.

7. Measuring disease frequency. General concepts. Morbidity and mortality. Survival and lethality. Prevalence and incidence. Attack rate. Relationship between incidence and prevalence. Epidemic, endemic and sporadic diseases. Other methods for measuring disease frequency. Standardisation of measures.

8. Screening tests for sub-clinical diseases. Population screening. Test performance assessment. Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive value. Methods for improving the predictive value of a test. Multiple tests: use of 2 tests simultaneously or in succession; serial or parallel interpretation. Concordance index between two tests.

9. Transmission and maintenance of infectious diseases Transmissible diseases. The cycle of a transmissible disease. Latent infection and carrier status. Horizontal and vertical, direct and indirect transmission. Host types. Mechanical and biological vectors. Factors associated with the spread of infections. The spread of infections and host characteristics: receptiveness and contagiousness. The spread of infections and agent characteristics. The spread of infections and contact efficiency. Routes of infection. Transmission modes. Long distance transmission of disease agents. Vertical transmission of disease. Maintenance and survival strategies of the agent.

10. Disease patterns. Epidemic curves. Kendall’s threshold theorem. Epidemic trends. Common source and propagation epidemics.

11. Models in epidemiology. Model types and functions. A classic model: the Reed & Frost model. Bovine Neospora caninum Infection: example of a mathematical model.

PRACTICAL LEARNING ACTIVITIES. With the aid of the computer and preparation of spreadsheets, students will consolidate the concepts acquired by solving problems relative to: demonstration of cause-effect relationship (case-control and cohort studies), sampling, measuring disease frequency, critical interpretation of screening tests.
According to guidelines of the European Association of Establishment for Veterinary Education, students will learn principles on finding technical-scientific informations via Internet using public online databases (OPAC SBN, PUBMED etc.).


Shape, dimensions, spatial arrangement. Structure of the cell
prokaryotic: nucleus, cytoplasm, cytoplasmic inclusions, ribosomes,
plasmids, cytoplasmic membrane, mesosome, bacterial cell wall, flagella,
organs of adhesion capsule antigens. Protoplasts, spheroplasts, forms L. The
Spore: sporogenesis, the structure of the spore, germination, biological meaning.
Nutrition, metabolism and bacterial cultivation strategies defined on the
the basis of different intrinsic needs. Reproduction: the growth curve.
Criteria for bacterial identification and taxonomy.
Bacterial genetics: mutations, recombinations (transformation,
conjugation and transduction), converting phage, plasmids and R one, islands
pathogenicity. Biotechnology: Concepts and basic techniques of engineering
genetics. Concept of pathogenicity: virulence, infectivity, receptivity,
infection, disease, concept of healthy carrier; pathogenicity factors.
Molecular techniques applied to microbiological diagnostics. Genesis and
evolution of an infectious disease: primary lesion, dissemination,
Understanding the disinfection. Antibiotics: classes and mechanism
of action.
General characteristics of fungus. Pathogenic action of fungus and main
pathogens of interest in veterinary medicine. Immune response to
fungal infections. Strategy to fight fungal infection.
Chemical composition, size, structure of the virus symmetry cubicaelicoidale,
complex, capsid, capsomeres, peplos, peplomers.
Bacteriophages. Interaction of viruses with eukaryotic cells:
adsorption, penetration, replication, maturation, liberation.
Cultivation: tissue culture, cell culture, animal receptive, eggs
T itolazionedeivirus: metodifisici, biologiciemediante
Taxonomic Characteristics of DNA viruses and RNA. Infectious agents
Nonspecific mechanisms of protection of the skin and mucous membranes. Phagocytosis:
phagocytes professionals and occasional osponine, the dynamics of phagocytosis,
fate of phagocytosed microorganisms, the consequences of survival.
Antigens: digit value physico-chemical determinants or epitopes, haptens and carriers,
immunogenicity, antigen-dipedenti thymus-independent and thymus.
Humoral immunity: primary and secondary lymphoid organs, classes of lymphocytes,
production of antibodies, structures and classes of immunoglobulins,
Local immunity and cell-mediated. Primary and secondary response,
memory, recirculation of lymphocytes. Active immunity: infection,
vaccination, vaccine types, routes of administration. Immunity
passive transplacental, colostrum, from-immune sera. Complement:
components, via classical, alternative and properdinica activation,
Interferons: classes, production, biological significance in antiviral defense
and in the immune response delayed. Hypersensitivity. Reactions
Serologic: precipitation, agglutination, hemagglutination and its
inhibition, neutralization, fissazionedelcompleme nto,
immunofluorescence, tecnicheradioimmunolo gichee


Bacterial cell wall and the Gram stain. Architecture of the spore and
staining Shaeffer and Fulton. Structure of the capsule and color
by ink. Various biochemical and enzymatic tests (oxidase,
catalase, urease, TSI, lysine and ornithine decarboxylase, esculinasi, reduction
nitrates, chemical Gram). Rapid slide agglutination and latex.
Identification system API. Various techniques of sowing of liquid medium and
solid. Susceptibility and MIC. Structure and coloration of Saccharomyces
cerivisiae. Microscopic examination of Malassezia. Cultivation of
virus in cell culture and embryonated eggs. Evaluation of different effects
cytopathic. Titration of virus using hemagglutination and method
lysis plaques.


BOTTARELLI E.: Quaderno di Epidemiologia Veterinaria.
AHLBOM A., NORELL S.: Epidemiologia moderna. Il Pensiero Scientifico Editore, Roma, 1993
BEAGLEHOLE R., BONITA R., KJELLSTROM: Epidemiologia di base. Edizione italiana a cura di G. Agazzotti, Editoriale Fernando Folini, Casalnoceto, 1997.
LOPALCO P.L., TOZZI A.E. (2003) Epidemiologia facile. Il Pensiero Scientifico Editore, Roma.
PFEIFFER D.U., Veterinary Epidemiology - An Introduction. Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University, New Zealand. Disponibile online (al 25/9/2009) all'indirizzo:
Signorelli C. (2000) Elementi di metodologia epidemiologica. Società Editrice Universo, Roma, V ed.
Abbas A.K. et alt. Immunologia cellulare e molecolare. Elsevier 2010

Poli at elt. Microbiologia e immunologia veterinaria. UTET 2009.

Brock Biologia dei microrganismi (volumi 1, 2, 3)Pearson 2012.

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons, practical activity in laboratory and informatic room.

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam consists of two steps: written examination for Epidemiology and oral examination for Microbiology and immunology. The final mark is derived from the arithmetic mean of the marks obtained in the two modules.

Other information

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