Infectious diseases are important in all of our lives. In this project, you will focus attention on a specific infectious disease with the goal of determining the underlying cause of the disease, what the microbe does to our bodies, how we treat the disease, and how social, economic, and political factors affect our ability to deal with the disease.
You have been allocated a disease according to your student number. The objective of this research is to investigate the following aspects of the disease.
A. What is the causative agent of the disease? Is it a bacterium, a virus, a prion, or a eukaryote?
1. If it is a bacterium, what are the characteristics of the cell (Gram-reaction, cell shape and arrangement? metabolic capabilities?). 2. If it is a virus, what are its characteristics (DNA, positive-strand RNA, negative-strand RNA or retrovirus? Enveloped or naked? How large is it? Does it form a provirus? any unique characteristics of its multiplication cycle?). 3. If it is a prion, what is a prion? Wherein the body does it occur? What is the function of the normal-type protein? 4. If it is eukaryote, is it a fungus, an alga, a protozoan, a platyhelminth, or a nematode? Is it multicellular or unicellular? What is its life cycle?
B. History: How long have we known about this disease?
1. Describe the changes in our knowledge and attitudes toward this disease throughout history.
C. Epidemiology: Describe the prevalence and transmission of this disease.
1. Where (in the world) is the disease prevalent? How many people are currently infected? What is the rate of new infections? What are the rates of morbidity and mortality? 2. What is (are) the reservoir(s) of the pathogen? What is (are) the mode(s) of transmission?
D. Pathology: Describe the pathogenic effects on cells, tissues, and organ systems.
1. Where in the body (what tissues/organs/cells) does the pathogen affect? 2. What damage does the pathogen inflict? How is this damage inflicted (is there direct mechanical damage? Is a toxin produced? does the immune response cause damage?)? 3. What is the time sequence of the disease (length of incubation, prodrome, illness, decline, and convalescence)? Are there sequalae? 4. What are the major signs and symptoms?
E. Response and Treatment
1. Describe the activity of our immune system against the pathogen. 2. What types of medical treatments exist? Describe how these treatments affect the progression of the disease. 3. Describe prophylactic measures that can be taken to limit the risk of infection.
1. Describe any historic or present day social, economic, or