In this paper, we describe the use of epidemiological methods to understand and reduce honey bee morbidity and mortality. Essential termsare presented and defined and we also give examples for their use. Defining such terms as disease, population, sensitivity, and specificity,provides a framework for epidemiological comparisons. The term population, in particular, is quite complex for an organism like the honey beebecause one can view “epidemiological unit” as individual bees, colonies, apiaries, or operations. The population of interest must, therefore,be clearly defined. Equations and explanations of how to calculate measures of disease rates in a population are provided. There are twotypes of study design; observational and experimental. The advantages and limitations of both are discussed. Approaches to calculate andinterpret results are detailed. Methods for calculating epidemiological measures such as detection of rare events, associating exposure anddisease (Odds Ratio and Relative Risk), and comparing prevalence and incidence are discussed. Naturally, for beekeepers, the adoption of anymanagement system must have economic advantage. We present a means to determine the cost and benefit of the treatment in orderdetermine its net benefit. Lastly, this paper presents a discussion of the use of Hill’s criteria for inferring causal relationships. This frameworkfor judging cause-effect relationships supports a repeatable and quantitative evaluation process at the population or landscape level. Hill’scriteria disaggregate the different kinds of evidence, allowing the scientist to consider each type of evidence individually and objectively, usinga quantitative scoring method for drawing conclusions. It is hoped that the epidemiological approach will be more broadly used to study andnegate honey bee disease.

Métodos estándar epidemiológicos para entender y mejorar la salud de Apis mellifera.


En este trabajo se detalla el uso de métodos epidemiológicos para entender y reducir la morbilidad y la mortalidad de las abejas. Se presentan y definen algunos términos esenciales y también se ponen ejemplos de su uso. La definición de términos tales como enfermedad, población, sensibilidad y especificidad, proporciona un marco de referencia para las comparaciones epidemiológicas. El término población, en particular, es muy complejo en un organismo como la abeja de la miel, porque uno puede ver la "unidad epidemiológica" como las abejas individuales, las colonias, los colmenares o incluso, determinadas operaciones. La población de interés debe, por lo tanto, estar claramente definida. Se proporcionan además ecuaciones y explicaciones sobre cómo calcular las medidas de la tasas de enfermedad en una población.

Summary Mandarin

Key words: 
COLOSS,  BEEBOOK , honey bee  Apis mellifera , epidemiology, disease, case definition confidence interval, odds ratio, relative risk, Hills Criteria

Footnote: Please cite this paper as: VANENGELSDORP, D; LENGERICH, E; SPLEEN, A; DAINAT, B; CRESSWELL, J; BAYLISS, K, NGUYEN, K B; SOROKER; V; UNDERWOOD, R; HUMAN, H; LE CONTE, Y; SAEGERMAN, C (2013) Standard epidemiological methods to understand and improve  Apis mellifera health. In V Dietemann; J D Ellis, P Neumann (Eds) The COLOSS  BEEBOOK : Volume II: Standard methods for  Apis mellifera pest and pathogen research. Journal of Apicultural Research 52(4):