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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.

19,844 enrolled on this course

World map in the background overlayed with images of bacteria in the foreground
  • Duration

    2 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

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 seconds Humans, 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 seconds However, 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 seconds The 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.

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...

  • 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 developed the course?

Griffith University

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

  • Established

  • Location

    Queensland, Australia
  • World ranking

    Top 210Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021

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

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