nbme21/Block 3/Question#21

A screening program is instituted for detection of ...


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submitted by drdoom(15),

2,500 students ... but you find out during your initial screen that 500 already have the disease. So, strikeout those people. That leaves 2,000 students who don’t have the disease.

Over the course of 1 year, you discover 200 students developed the infection. Thus:

200 new cases / 2,000 people who didn’t have the disease when you started your study = 10 percent

Tricky, tricky NBME ...

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submitted by drdoom(15),

Don’t forget that incidence is the number of new cases which emerge in an unaffected population. Incidence is trying to get at the question -> “In a given year, how many new people develop this disease?”

In other words, you cannot count people who already have the disease. You have to exclude those people from your calculation. You want to know, among all the people out there who DO NOT have the disease, how many times this year was someone (newly) diagnosed?

Said differently still, you don’t want to “double-count” people who developed the disease before your study. As an epidemiologist, that would screw up your sense of how infective or transmissible a disease is. You want to know, “from time1 to time2 how many new cases emerged?”

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submitted by drdoom(15),

Also consider this great description from the NIH’s MeSH database:

INCIDENCE: The number of new cases of a given disease during a given period in a specified population. It also is used for the rate at which new events occur in a defined population. It is differentiated from PREVALENCE, which refers to all cases, new or old, in the population at a given time.