We live in a world shaped by infectious disease. What does that mean? Over the course of five units, let’s explore the history and science of diseases like smallpox and the common cold to better understand how our own bodies work and what we can do to avoid dying of future plagues.
Why should we care about infectious disease?
Lesson 1: What is an infectious disease and why do we care?
Lesson 2: How infectious disease has molded history – including ours
Lesson 3: Bacterial structures
Lesson 4: Viral sizes and structures
Lesson 5: So why aren’t we always sick? Our body’s defenses
Bacterial Pathogen Pronunciation Station
Visit the Bacterial Pathogen Pronunciation Station site to listen to the pronunciations of most, if not all, of the microbial names you will encounter throughout ID.
What does it mean to have an infectious disease?
Lesson 1: Infectious Disease Detectives – Typhoid Mary
Lesson 2: What are the patterns of infectious disease?
Lesson 3: How do infectious diseases spread?
Lesson 4: How can we prove infection causes disease?
Lesson 5: Do bacteria cause stomach ulcers? Applying Koch’s postulates
When does a microbe become pathogenic?
How do pathogens make us sick?
Lesson 1: Why we feel sick – how pathogens cause direct and indirect damage
Lesson 2: Toxins – Botox, tetanus, hamburger disease, and MRSA
Lesson 3: How do bacteria adapt to become pathogens? – The adaptation auction
Lesson 4: How viruses make us sick – Viral replication
Lesson 5: How do viruses adapt? – Antigenic shift and drift and the flu pandemic
Lesson 6: Designing an antiviral drug – The challenge of HIV
How do we get better?
Lesson 1: Our body’s barriers – the innate immune system
Lesson 2: Evolving pathogens – the adaptive immune system
Lesson 3: Evolving pathogens – our body’s responses – B and T cells
Lesson 4: Our body’s responses – putting it all together!
Lesson 5: What makes a good vaccine?
The Great Debate – Are vaccines worth the risk?
- World Health Organization (WHO): Measles Fact Sheet
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Possible Side-effects from Vaccines
- PATH Vaccine Resource Library: How Vaccines Work
- New Scientist: Vaccine Scandal Revives Cancer Fears
- New Scientist: Vaccination risks are ‘too small to count’
- New Scientist: Vaccination campaigns launched in quake zone
- New Scientist: Misleading vaccination statistics put lives at risk
- The Boston Globe: Measles case leads to mass vaccinations
Final Project: Make a public health brochure about an infectious disease of your choice.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- World Health Organization, especially the Global Alert and Response Disease Outbreak News subsite
- National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
- MedlinePlus (National Library of Medicine)
- American Society for Microbiology, especially MicrobeWorld
- Kenyon College’s MicrobeWiki
- Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases, aka ProMED-mail (International Society for Infectious Diseases)
Lab Case Study
The Tragic Case of Stan: Extended Reading and Lab Videos
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The Lab Case Study looks at the clinical side of pathogen isolation, treatment and the challenges that may arise in the process. This extended reading provides more detail about the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.
Lab Case Study – Extended Reading : Antibiotic Resistance