Disease Detectives

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Course content was made from ScioVirtual Disease Detectives and Public Health lead faculty, including:
Xihang Wang, pre-medical student at Cornell University and heavily decorated national competitor. Xihang helped develop the original Disease Detectives curriculum.
Ria Verma, WW-P North Science Olympiad captain and freshman at MIT that taught Disease Detectives at ScioVirtual with Ishita and Rudra from Mason HS.
Oshin Samuel is a freshman👶🏾 at the Ohio State University🎓. She's competed on a national💪🏾 level in her Science Olympiad team and has medaled🥇 in various invitationals. She also has taught epidemiology🦠, forensics🔍, biology🐋, chemistry🔬, and other subjects. When she's not listening to Taylor Swift🎤, she's reading and writing poetry📚.
Fareeda Naduvil - Just graduated Solon High School, off to Case Western Reserve University! Four years of Disease Detectives experience and avid fan of drawing, children’s TV shows, frogs, and fruit salad. 🍇 🍈🍉🍊🍋🍌🍍🥭🍎🍏🍐
Ishita Deshmukh is a national invitational medalist and current undergraduate at the University of Michigan. Ishita competed in Disease Detectives for five years created the original Disease Detectives curriculum.
Phoenix He - Still in jail a.k.a. Temple City High School (literally we have a dirt track). My favorite SciOly event is Remote Sensing :) and my least favorite is Chem Lab :(

Oshin comparing the types of observational studies in epidemiology during live class.
Oshin comparing the types of observational studies in epidemiology during live class.

The official Science Olympiad website (soinc.org) is always a good starting point for studying for any event.

• Here is the link to the Disease Detectives page on the Science Olympiad website: https://www.soinc.org/disease-detectives-c. This page has many useful resources, so we recommend going through as many of them as you can. You should make sure to look at the five training handouts as they contain a good overview of the event and because many test writers write questions based on these handouts.

https://scioly.org/ is also a great resource for all Science Olympiad events.

  • You should start by reading the wiki page for Disease Detectives (https://scioly.org/wiki/index.php/Disease_Detectives), since it has a lot of good introductory information.
  • This website also has an active community of Science Olympians, so if you have questions you can always consult the forums (https://scioly.org/forums/) to talk with other Science Olympians.
  • Once you have a solid grasp on the content, check out the Test Exchange (https://scioly.org/tests/) to find practice tests.
  • Practice tests are the best way to improve your Science Olympiad skills, so you should take many tests and grade them to see what you need to improve on. Make sure you learn from the tests you take!

The CDC website is a great place to learn about epidemiology. They have several lessons to help you learn as well as practice questions. We strongly recommend that you look at these questions, since they appear on many Disease Detectives tests.

After you’ve mastered the basics of Disease Detectives, you can improve your skills by using Google to learn other things on the rules sheet and by taking as many practice tests as possible.

Introduction to Epidemiology

Types of infectious agents and some epidemiology related vocabulary. An organizer to record the information and its corresponding answer key.

Outbreak Investigations

Officially there are 13 steps that one must take to properly investigate an outbreak. Among those, different criteria will be used to decide the proper study method. This is essentially the only part of disease that requires calculations so make sure to memorize the formulas and practice applying them to the prompt.

Descriptive Epidemiology

Hopefully, you’ve already learned the difference between descriptive and analytical epidemiology from day 1 so time to learn about graphs and do an actual outbreak investigation practice!

Analytical Epidemiology

Disease Prevention


As always, most important part of almost all the events is to practice.