Epidemiology: An epistemological perspective
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The term “epidemiology” is a source of confusion about the nature of this discipline. For the public, “epidemiology” evokes a medical discipline that deals with large-scale outbreaks of infectious diseases. This was indeed its meaning in the first treatises which included “epidemiology” in their titles. In the 16th century the Spanish physician Angelerio published a study on plague entitled “Epidemiología” and in 1802 another Spanish physician, Villalba, wrote a compilation of epidemics and outbreaks over 13 centuries entitled “Epidemiología Española” (meaning Spanish epidemiology) (Pan American Health Organization, 1988, p. 3–4).