This is an online short course offered by Penn State University, that will take approximately 15 hours to complete. The instructors include MIDAS members! A completion certificate is available. See the course website for details.
Science has come a long way in understanding infectious diseases – what they are, how they spread, and how they can be prevented. But diseases like HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis, or the flu are still major killers worldwide, and novel emerging diseases such as COVID-19 are a constant threat to public health. In addition, the bugs are evolving. Antibiotics, our most potent weapon against bacterial infections, are losing their power because the bacteria are becoming resistant.
In this course, we’ll explore the major themes of infectious diseases dynamics. After we’ve covered the basics, we’ll be looking at the dynamics of the flu, and why we’re worried about flu pandemics. We’ll be looking at the dynamics of childhood diseases such as measles and whooping cough, which were once considered almost eradicated, but are now making a comeback. We’ll explore Malaria, and use it as a case study of the evolution of drug resistance. We’ll even be looking at social networks – how diseases can spread from you to your friends to your friends’ friends, and so on. And of course we’ll be talking about vaccination too. We’ll also be talking about how mobile phones, social media and crowdsourcing are revolutionizing disease surveillance, giving rise to a new field of digital epidemiology.