Year of Publication



Public Health

Date Available


Degree Name

Dr. of Public Health (Dr.P.H.)

Committee Chair

James Holsinger, Jr., MD, PhD

Committee Member

Martha Riddell, DrPH, MPH

Committee Member

Sam Matheny, MD


Outbreaks are emergency situations that carry hazards of death, disability, loss of home and property, and variety of other calamities. With technological advancement, not only people and commodities are easy to transfer but also disease outbreaks. However, outbreaks are dealt with by different countries based on the differences in their healthcare systems and their ability to achieve effective control of the outbreak. SARS, MERS, and Ebola are example of such outbreaks that traveled around the globe and successful control was different according to the virulence of outbreak agent and to the effectiveness of local health system control measures. This capstone project proposes an outbreak severity index as an outbreak evaluation tool. The aim of the evaluation tool is to examine the severity of any emerging outbreak and to coordinate prevention and control efforts accordingly both locally and globally. Application of the outbreak severity index of SARS, MERS, and Ebola demonstrates that the score for SARS, MERS, and Ebola are 5.42, 5.36, and 5.0 respectively on a 10.0 points scale. This result indicates that SARS, MERS, and Ebola are moderate severe outbreaks. With this result, public health practitioners have an objective measurement tool to advocate for allocation of resources and for justifying preventive procedures. Validity and reliability are not tested, which would lead to acceptance of this evaluative approach and help in building consensus. Additional studies are needed to assess the proposed outbreak severity index.

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