Sep 15th 2015

HKU01x: Epidemics (edX)

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Why was the Ebola epidemic that started in 2013 so devastating? What can be done to control and mitigate outbreaks of new pathogens such as MERS coronavirus? Explore the science, prevention and control of epidemics in this free online course. In addition to lectures by leading scientists in this field from HKU, this course will feature panel discussions with world leading experts in epidemics, including Professor Peter Piot who is the co-discoverer of Ebola and Professor Barbara Stocking who chairs the 2015 WHO-commissioned panel that assesses WHO's response to the Ebola outbreak.

“If history is our guide, we can assume that the battle between the intellect and will of the human species and the extraordinary adaptability of microbes will be never-ending.” Fauci AS, Touchette NA, Folkers GK. Emerging Infectious Diseases: a 10-Year Perspective from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Emerg Infect Dis 2005 Apr; 11(4):519-25.

Despite all the remarkable technological breakthroughs that we have made over the past few decades, the threat from infectious diseases has significantly accelerated. In this course, we will learn why this is the case by looking at the fundamental scientific principles underlying epidemics and the public health actions behind their prevention and control in the 21st century.

This course covers the following four topics:

- origins of novel pathogens;

- analysis of the spread of infectious diseases;

- medical and public health countermeasures to prevent and control epidemics;

- panel discussions involving leading public health experts with deep frontline experiences to share their views on risk communication, crisis management, ethics and public trust in the context of infectious disease control.

What you'll learn:

- Demonstrate knowledge of the origins, spread and control of infectious disease epidemics

- Demonstrate understanding of the importance of effective communication about epidemics

- Demonstrate understanding of key contemporary issues relating to epidemics from a global perspective