This course is a broad overview of the ecology of the human host-pathogen interaction and the influence of human culture and biology on the transmission and geographic spread of infectious diseases through time and in different environments. Studies of the ecology, evolution, and history of specific diseases, such as bubonic plague, smallpox, influenza, yellow fever, and HIV, will be used to illustrate and reinforce general concepts. The following topics will be covered.
Part I. The biology of infectious diseases, including the nature of host-pathogen interactions, infectious disease epidemiology, and the impact of culture on the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases.
Part II. Human infectious diseases through time, including diseases in prehistory, domestication of plants and animals and infectious disease patterns, the rise of cities and disease transmission, colonization and changing disease patterns, and the epidemiological transition and beyond.
Part III. The geography of infectious diseases, including global patterns of spread of infectious disease, infectious disease transmission within households, communities, and regions, and GIS and disease.
Part IV. Understanding the emergence and re-emergence of infectious diseases, including climate change, environmental disruption, and infectious disease, antibiotic resistance, bioterrorism and social inequalities and ethics in infectious disease studies.
In addition to the short papers, a midterm and final exam will be given. The midterm is scheduled in class on (TBD); the final exam will given during the regularly scheduled final exam time on (TBD). These exams will consist of definitions, short answer questions, and two longer essays (1-page per essay, two essays per exam). All exam questions will be drawn from study guides that will be given out during the first week of class (for the midterm) and after the midterm (for the final exam).
This course has worked very well. I do not anticipate any changes other than minor updating of readings and/or content.