Cohort Study

Student Role

Your internship at the Epiville Department of Health is progressing well. Your supervisor, Dr. Morissa Zapp, has been called in to investigate a sudden increase in Susser Syndrome cases . Her goal is to design and conduct a cohort study to investigate the possible causes of Susser Syndrome. She calls you into her office and asks you to do some preliminary investigative work and to report back to her with the results. You return to your office and immediately turn to the WEPI1 website to see if there are any news reports about the outbreak. Luckily you log on just in time to read through Stew O'N eil's report.

logo_wepi1_small.gif BREAKING NEWS

"Good afternoon, I'm Stew O'N eil with WEPI1 News... Doctors at the Epiville General Hospital report what appears to be a dramatic increase in the number of patients suffering from a cluster of neurological symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of Susser Syndrome, a rare and debilitating disease. Since March of this year, the number of diagnosed cases has been dramatically rising and health officials are concerned. We spoke with hospital officials earlier today and the cause of this increase in the number of Susser Syndrome cases is unknown.

"Doctors report that the disease pathway is poorly understood. Medical experts, however, believe that its occurrence is linked to an environmental exposure and may lead to permanent structural damage in the brain."

Channel 1, in an exclusive report, has uncovered that a significant number of diagnosed individuals are employed by Glop Industries, the manufacturing and production giant.Glop Industries is the largest employer in Epiville and the manufacturer of the antibacterial cleaning solution, SUPERCLEAN. When asked by Channel 1 reporters about the number of employees being diagnosed with Susser Syndrome, representatives from Glop had no comment.

Based on your own research and the newscast, you decide to investigate Glop Industries. The Epiville Chamber of Commerce website provides you with the following information:

  • Information about Susser Syndrome from the Epiville Department of Health Webpage
  • Information about Glop Industries which produces the suspected causal agent, SUPERCLEAN

Your first stop is at Glop Industries, located in the Epiville Industrial Park. Upon entering, you flash the powerful Epiville Department of Health Identification Card (carefully covering the word "intern" with your thumb), and ask to speak with the plant manager. You are immediately greeted by the plant manager, Ms. Dolores Doll, who is very responsive to your questions.

Interview - Dolores Doll

"Over the years, Glop Industries has produced more than 30 products, ranging from household cleaning supplies to pre-packaged frozen dinners to soft-drinks. Now, most of the plant space is being used to produce SUPERCLEAN. "

"We produce over 1000 gallons a week. It can be used to clean dishes, floors, clothing -- I even use it in the shower, and I'll tell you, I've never felt so clean. We are still trying to fine-tune the production line to keep up with demand and so, right now, we do have a bit of spillage -- we lose about 5 percent of the product that way. At any rate, a little SUPERCLEAN in the air never hurt anyone - it keeps us feeling clean and the factory smelling great."