Prior to the discovery of the ‘sulpha’ drugs, penicillin and streptomycin in the first half of the 20th century, infectious diseases regularly killed huge numbers of human beings. Epidemics of bubonic plague, consumption, dysentery, influenza, and typhoid fever swept across Europe and Asia. In the last seventy years improved public health and the availability of anti-pathogenic drugs have greatly reduced this loss of human life. Poor husbandry of our arsenal of antibiotics, however, has resulted in the development of massive and wide-spread pathogen resistance. Humankind thus now faces a return to the pre-1940 state-of-affairs; humanity is again at risk. In this course we will look at the microbiology, etiology, management, and social impact of six major infectious diseases (influenza, HIV/AIDS, cholera, tuberculosis, malaria and the tineas). Necessary biological background will be provided where appropriate, e.g. the anatomy/physiology of the human respiratory, digestive, circulatory, integumentary and immunological systems. We will also look at antibiotic discovery and mode-of-action, and explore why bacterial resistance to antibiotics arose so rapidly. Around Ghana and in the Amazon Basin we will find time to discuss yellow fever and schistosomiasis.
A two-term high-school course that has covered basic cell biology and human anatomy/physiology; one term of high-school chemistry that included basic atomic theory.
Field WorkCountry: South Africa
Participants will visit the Tygerberg Children’s Hospital, home of the Hope Cape Town Association. Hope Cape Town is a nonprofit organization which offers community outreach, education and counseling focusing on HIV/AIDS and TB in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. Tygerberg Children’s Hospital provides specialty pediatric care for infants with HIV/AIDs, TB or various cancers. The lab will feature a presentation by thte Director of the Association. Through this experience participants will gain insight into HIV/AIDS and poverty in South Africa and the implications on families and societies. Students are encouraged to bring one or two items to donate to Tygerberg Children’s Hospital. Suggested items to donate include: new or gently used stuffed animals, clothing (0-5 years), toothbrushes and toothpaste, soft baby blankets.