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Exploring Infectious Disease: Are We Safe?

This course is expected to run but has not yet been scheduled.

Course Description

The main objective of this course is to introduce students to the field of infectious diseases and to give students an understanding of pathogens that cause infections and their impact on worldwide public health. This course will be of interest to students who want to study medicine, life science, or public health.

Will there be a bird flu outbreak? If I travel abroad, am I at risk of contracting deadly parasites? Do I really need to get vaccinated? This course will explore these and other questions relating to how the environment affects disease outbreaks. We will focus on pathogens that “jump” from animals to humans. We will examine the basic biology of bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Understanding how microbes are transmitted, cause disease, and are prevented by vaccination is vital to overall public health.

We will examine the organisms themselves (morphology, life cycle, etc.), how they cause disease (transmission cycle, epidemiology), and also how diseases can be prevented (vaccines, other public health measures). This course will also address the misconception that parasitic diseases affect only developing countries. Globalization has increased the likelihood of pandemics caused by pathogens previously isolated from industrialized nations.

Classes will be highly interactive, with ample opportunities for questioning and discussion. Students will read scientific articles, selections from the news media, and excerpts from scientific novels. The material covered will prepare students for college-level microbiology course work.

By the end of the course, students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of the pathogenesis of major infectious diseases, including their causative agents, epidemiology, and virulence mechanisms. Students will be able to understand the major infectious diseases of our time, why vaccination is important, analyze scientific literature, and overall think critically about scientific questions. Students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the central tenets of infectious diseases and be able to discuss how various infectious diseases are defined by climate, cultural norms, and socioeconomic conditions. Students should also be able to compare and contrast different microbial diseases, including the properties of different types of pathogens and the mechanisms of pathogenesis. This course will also contain a laboratory portion in which the students will learn common microbiology techniques used in laboratory practice every day.

Completion of a high school biology course is required.

*Please Note: This course has a Supplemental Fee of $150.00.

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