Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health
Comprehensive Unit

Grade Level

Secondary - Community College

Published

2010 (231 pages)

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Infectious Diseases cover

HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria are just a few of the public health crises facing the world today. These and other infectious diseases, though largely preventable, are a major cause of death and disability around the globe. With the startling ability of old and new pathogens to rapidly spread across continents, it is important to demystify the science and strategies behind infectious disease control and prevention.

This curriculum unit is designed for students to: recognize the scope and impact of major global infectious diseases; understand the interaction between humans, pathogens, and the environment; identify the basic goals and principles of public health; become conscientious consumers of health information; and become empowered to protect themselves and their community. Throughout the unit, interactive multimedia activities help foster an appreciation for the challenges and triumphs of public health efforts.

Lesson One, “Infectious Diseases and Humans,” introduces students to biological concepts such as the agents that cause infectious diseases, the human immune response, the principles of vaccine science, and the treatment of infections. This scientific knowledge will enable students to better understand subsequent lessons on how and why we have developed public health practices to combat such diseases.

Lesson Two, “Epidemics and Global Infectious Diseases,” goes beyond the individual to examine how diseases can spread and affect whole populations. Students will learn about the characteristics of an epidemic, the modes of disease transmission, factors that make humans more susceptible to infection, as well as factors that enable diseases to persist despite our best control efforts.

Lesson Three, “Public Health Response to Infectious Disease,” explores the principles and tools used to fight the spread of communicable diseases. Students will distinguish between public health and clinical medicine, examine disease burden and health disparities, learn about disease investigation, and discuss various control methods.

Lesson Four, “A Call to Action,” encourages students to take a proactive role in the fight against infectious diseases. A series of suggested projects allow students to apply their new knowledge in real world settings.


**This curriculum unit includes web-based activities and resources that are available at http://www.stanford.edu/group/spice/ID/infectious_diseases.swf.

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