Viruses, Animals & People: Travelers on the Zoonotic Disease Highway
Among the oldest but also most recently recognized illnesses are those infections maintained in animal populations but transmitted to people. Plague (from fleas) is an ancient example, and Lyme disease (via ticks) a more recent one. Get a broad overview of zoonotic diseases - their diversity and importance to public health - and learn in detail how rabies, a classic example, has reemerged as a major threat.
Influenza A: Consistently Ducking Our Immunity
Despite vigilance and vaccines, influenza causes seasonal illness thanks to minor mutations in the influenza A virus that allow new viral strains to evade the immune system. Learn why influenza A remains a major pathogen for people, what sources could contribute to new, more deadly pandemic strains, and how scientists are trying to pre-empt future pandemics.
Here a Species, There a Species: Mosquitoes and Malaria
The human cost of malaria is immense, with 2 million people worldwide dying each year, and 500 million becoming severely ill. The source of their misery is twofold: disease-carrying mosquitoes, or vectors, and a disease-causing parasite. Hear about the life cycle and habitats of the disease carriers, the development of the parasite in humans and mosquitoes, and malaria vectors in the U.S.
Out of the Blue: Mosquitoes and Emerging Viruses
People are incidental to some viruses, despite the public health crisis they create. Such is the case with West Nile virus, which cycles between birds and mosquitoes, and infects humans as secondary hosts. Learn how these players interact among themselves and with their environment, and how emerging mosquito-borne viruses -- from West Nile to yellow fever, and Chikungunya to eastern equine - evolve and cause disease.