• London School of Hygeine & Tropical Medicine logo

Disease Outbreaks in Low and Middle Income Countries

Understand infectious disease outbreaks and learn how to prepare for them with this course for people working in global health.

13,834 enrolled on this course

Explore disease outbreaks and outbreak preparedness

On this 3-week course, you will explore disease outbreaks, discovering what outbreaks are and why they matter as well as the different responses to such outbreaks. You will also consider the future of outbreak preparedness.

Learn about disease prevention in middle and low income countries

Recent outbreaks of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases have shown we need to be able to coordinate responses to disease outbreaks at the regional, country and global level.

You’ll think about who is responsible for controlling outbreaks, and the critical role of preparedness to prevent, control, and respond to the spread of infectious diseases.

Discover the future of disease control with experts

After exploring the current challenges encountered by teams working in effective outbreak response, you’ll look to the future and think about key insights and new innovations in disease control and prevention. How can modern technology place us in a better position to handle diseases in the future?

Through the course, you will learn from experts at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a leading institution in the field and part of the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team (UK-PHRST) partnership.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds JIMMY WHITWORTH: My name’s Jimmy Whitworth, and I’m the lead educator for the Massive Open Online Course on disease outbreaks in low- and middle-income countries. I’m also a professor of international public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the Deputy Director of the UK Public Health Rapid Support team. Global experts from various institutions, including NGOs, government, United Nations, academia, and funders, have come together to share their expertise, experience and insights on outbreaks to deliver this course. At LSHTM, we have over 100 academics working across disciplines which aim to reduce the impacts of infectious diseases. Many of our researchers have first-hand experience responding to outbreaks, including members of the UK Public Health Rapid Support team.

Skip to 1 minute and 3 seconds This team was set up to respond to outbreaks, conduct operational research, and strengthen capacity for infectious disease outbreak, preparedness, detection, and response in low- and middle-income countries. There is no shortage of outbreaks to respond to. In the first two decades of this century, we have seen major infectious disease epidemics and pandemics unfold, including SARS, chikungunya, influenza, MERS, and yellow fever. Large scale disease outbreaks such as the recent diphtheria outbreak in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, and recurrent outbreaks such as cholera and Lassa fever, highlight the need for robust local and, if necessary, international outbreak preparedness and rapid responses to save lives.

Skip to 1 minute and 57 seconds When an outbreak is undetected and a response is not triggered rapidly and effectively, the human cost can be high, as in West Africa with Ebola. Many outbreaks are unexpected, like the Zika outbreak in Latin America, which caused serious birth defects on a large scale, with over 3,000 confirmed cases in less than three years. In addition to the direct impact of an outbreak, the further human, social, and economic consequences can devastate fragile health systems and affected communities, undoing years of social development. In this course, we will hear from a range of experts across disciplines, including epidemiology, microbiology, clinical medicine, social science, health policy, and health systems.

Skip to 2 minutes and 50 seconds Using videos, presentations, articles, and discussions, we will ask– What are outbreaks and why do they matter? How do we prepare for and respond to outbreaks? And what is the future of outbreak preparedness and response? The course is suitable for you if you’re interested in, studying, or working, in global and public health. This includes government stakeholders, health practitioners, NGO employees, and those responding or working to prevent outbreaks. In particular, those working in low- and middle-income countries regularly affected by epidemics will find the course relevant. We’ve seen infectious disease outbreaks throughout history, and they are not going away.

Skip to 3 minutes and 41 seconds Our course aims to strengthen preparedness and response in low- and middle-income countries to more effectively prevent and reduce the impact of outbreaks for better global health in the future.

What topics will you cover?

The course is divided into three broad sections:

  • What are outbreaks and why do they matter?
  • How do we prepare and respond to outbreaks?
  • What is the future of outbreak preparedness and response?

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe and define what outbreaks are and their impacts
  • Describe how we prepare for and respond to outbreaks
  • Explore future approaches to outbreak preparedness and response

Who is the course for?

This course is for those interested in, studying or working in global and public health. This includes government stakeholders; health practitioners and NGO employees - particularly those working in countries regularly affected by infectious disease outbreaks.

Translations are available at the bottom of each step in French, Arabic, Spanish and Russian to assist learners with the course content.

Who will you learn with?

Professor of International Public Health at LSHTM with 35 years experience in infectious disease health research in LMICs. Principal Investigator for setting up the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team

I am a Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, focusing in infectious diseases. I am excited to be a part of this course!

My main interests are infectious disease and sexual health among mobile populations in crises settings and fragile states. I'm an Assistant Professor at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Clinician, Researcher and Coordinator for the UK Public Health Rapid Support team based at The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

I am epidemiologist with extensive operational experience in Africa/Asia, and a deployable member of the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team, working to build epidemic response, research and capacity.

Who developed the course?

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is a world leader in research and postgraduate education in public and global health. Its mission is to improve health and health equity worldwide.

Endorsers and supporters

funded by

Wellcome logo

Ways to learn

Buy this course

Subscribe to Unlimited

Join with limited access

Choose the best way to learn for you!


One-off payment


Automatically renews


Unlock your expertiseAccess thousands of coursesTry this course - with limits
Access to this courseticktickLimited to 3 weeks
Access to ALL eligible coursescrosstickcross
Learn at your own paceticktickcross
Discuss your learning in commentstickticktick
Certificate when you're eligiblePrinted and digitalDigital onlycross
Buy this course

Ways to learn

Subscribe to Unlimited to access this course and thousands of other short courses or buy just this course for extra benefits. Or, join with limited access.

Subscribe to Unlimited


Automatically renews

Access thousands of courses

  • Access to this course
  • Access to ALL eligible short courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Buy this course


One-off payment

Unlock your expertise

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Join with limited access


Try before you buy

  • Limited access to course content for 3 weeks

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

Learner reviews

Learner reviews cannot be loaded due to your cookie settings. Please and refresh the page to view this content.

Do you know someone who'd love this course? Tell them about it...