Online course

Plagues, Pestilence and Pandemics: Are You Ready?

Explore the current and emerging threat of global health pandemics and how we can respond to them effectively.

Learn how to contain disease and fight future pandemics

Plagues may seem like an occurrence of the past, but outbreaks of infectious disease exist all over the world today. This online course will look at the current and emerging threat of global health pandemics and our response to them.

You’ll explore the science of infection and the spread of infectious diseases, identifying how microorganisms spread and manifest in the body. You’ll discover the challenges that re-emerging epidemics and bacterial resistance pose to disease prevention in diverse communities. And you’ll determine how to contain disease effectively and prevent future pandemics.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 11 secondsHumans, infection, disease. The interaction between humans and infectious disease is prominent in the history of our species. In the Middle Ages, the bubonic plague killed 1/3 of the world's population, wiping out villages and towns. In 1918, influenza infected 1/3 of the world's population, killing nearly 50 million people. In the 20th century, polio paralysed hundreds of thousands of children every year. Humans contribute to the spread of and exposure to infectious diseases across the world through travel, deforestation, agricultural practises, population growth and movement, and disputes. This has brought us global threats such as SARS, H1N1, malaria, MERS, and Ebola. Until recently, antibiotics were the magic bullet for bacterial infections.

Skip to 1 minute and 15 secondsHowever, anti-microbial resistance threatens our ability to treat an ever increasing range of infectious diseases.

Skip to 1 minute and 24 seconds[MONITORS BEEPING]

Skip to 1 minute and 28 secondsThe drugs just aren't working. Humans don't exist in isolation from our environment, and there really is only one health. Human health is interconnected to the health of animals and the environment. In this course, we look at the current and emerging threats of infectious diseases and our response to them. Griffith University is a leader in infection prevention and control education. Our expert educators are affiliated with international bodies, such as the World Health Organisation. So join us, and together we will explore how you can be better prepared for plagues, pestilence, and pandemics, and make a difference to global health.

What topics will you cover?

  • The science of infection and disease and the distinction between the two. Not all infections cause disease and not all diseases may be due to infection.
  • Microorganisms: how they spread, and how they manifest in the body to cause disease.
  • Emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases: emerging infections are those that have newly appeared in a population whereas re-emerging infections are those that existed in the past (SARS, EBOLA) but have reappeared.
  • A discussion of bacterial resistance, how bacteria evolve to become resistant to things that are meant to kill them.
  • Contemporary communicable diseases and healthcare-associated infections at a global, regional, national and local level.
  • Outbreak responses, identifying and breaking the chain of infection through good hygiene and standard precautions.
  • You have a role to play: practical containment and prevention strategies.

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

  • Available now
    This course started 25 March 2019

What will you achieve?

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

  • Explain the science of infection and infectious diseases
  • Describe emerging and re-emerging diseases
  • Identify the various challenges in the prevention of infectious diseases in diverse healthcare and community settings
  • Discuss the basic principles of effective containment and prevention of infectious diseases

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for healthcare workers, particularly student healthcare workers, student nurses, policy makers and dentists.

Who will you learn with?

Dr Peta-Anne Zimmerman

An internationally respected clinician, educator and researcher in infection prevention and control. Experience includes GOARN, WHO, AusAID, ADB, SPC. Faculty Griffith University Graduate IPC program.

Thea van de Mortel

A/Professor (Dr) Thea van de Mortel is a RN and scientist who teaches microbiology and infection prevention and control in the Griffith University Graduate Infection Prevention and Control program.

Who developed the course?

Griffith University was created to be a different kind of university—challenging conventions, responding to trends and pioneering solutions through innovative teaching and research.

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Introductory offer. Available until 11 May 2019. T&Cs apply.