• University of Leeds

Causes of Human Disease: Transmitting and Fighting Infection

Learn how pathogens cause infectious diseases, how these diseases are transmitted and how our immune systems respond to infection.

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Pathogens under microscope causing infectious diseases
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Discover how infection spreads.

Most of us have experienced common diseases like flu or less common ones like pneumonia. On this course, you’ll learn how pathogens cause infectious diseases and how these diseases are transmitted. You’ll examine the bacterial resistance to antibiotics, how this leads to serious infections like MRSA and reflect on approaches to address this problem. You’ll learn how the body’s immune system fights off disease and how resistance is gained. You’ll apply this knowledge to explore why immunisation has been crucial in reducing the occurrence of disease or even eradicating deadly diseases.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds In transmitting and fighting infection, we’re going to start off by focusing on the infectious diseases and the different types of microorganism such as bacteria and viruses that cause these infectious diseases. Some of these we’ll all be fairly familiar with. We’ve all had colds, the flu, some of us will have had other types of infectious disease. Other ones will be a bit more exotic so we will be looking at these different types of organism and how they cause the disease. Then we will go on to look at how our body fights off bacteria and viruses when we are infected, and how that immune system is able to protect us from future infections from the same bacteria and viruses.

Skip to 1 minute and 3 seconds A lot of the protection against disease that we now have is due to antibiotics that have been developed during the 20th century. The problem with antibiotics is the bacteria actually develop resistance to them. This resistance to antibiotics has developed to a level where now, we actually have many types of bacteria that are resistant to most of the antibiotics that we have. If we don’t get a grip with this challenge, in the future we might face the situation that was present over 100 years ago, when there simply weren’t antibiotics capable of treating these infections. And then we’ll see more illness and, unfortunately, more deaths.

Skip to 1 minute and 45 seconds Sign up now for Causes of Human Disease: Transmitting and Fighting Infection, to find out more about antibiotic resistance, how diseases infect us, and how the body combats them.

What topics will you cover?

  • Causes of infectious diseases
  • The differences between bacteria, viruses and parasites and how they cause infectious diseases
  • How infectious diseases are transmitted
  • How antibiotics work and the challenges of antibiotic resistance in the treatment of bacterial diseases
  • The basic components of the immune system, and the innate and adaptive immune responses
  • What immunisation is and how it works

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles. By completing the course the learner has achieved 14 hours of CPD time.

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.

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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...

  • Compare bacteria, viruses and parasites as causes of infectious disease
  • Describe different modes of transmission of infectious agents
  • Summarise what an antibiotic is and explain what is meant by resistance to antibiotics
  • Explain the basic components of the immune system
  • Explain the basic components of how the immune system fights invading pathogens

Who is the course for?

The course is suitable for anyone with a general interest in the science behind causes of human disease. No previous knowledge or experience is required. If you are working in nursing, healthcare or social care, or just wish to learn more, this course is designed to support you as a professional. By completing all aspects of the course you will have achieved 14 hours of CPD time.

Who will you learn with?

I am Associate Professor of Environmental Toxicology in the School of Medicine, University of Leeds. My research interests are the health effects of mycotoxins and particulate matter.

Who developed the course?

University of Leeds

As one of the UK’s largest research-based universities, the University of Leeds is a member of the prestigious Russell Group and a centre of excellence for teaching.


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