SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code MHC526359
Module Leader Linda Scobie
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

SCQF Level 8 Microbiology or equivalent

Summary of Content

This module involves detailed study of the concepts of infectious disease from infection to cure . The module also reflects the current stream of Infections and Molecular Science as defined by the NHS. The module will cover mainly emerging and re-emerging bacterial, viral and fungal pathogens of relevance in human disease. The pathogenesis, epidemiology and public health implications will be presented for relevant organisms along with current approaches to the prevention and control of the infections they cause. This will include cumulative research that has led to the reduction in infection rates in the U.K and how global approaches to outbreaks are managed. This module represents the changing dynamic of the field of emerging disease and content will reflect current interest. The module is an integrated approach to complement other modules in level 4 to meet content required by relevant accreditation bodies. The module is delivered as blended learning including problem based approaches and assessed via data interpretation/analysis and final exam .


Virology: Emerging viruses of global relevance. Details of factors that contribute to emergence and re-emergence on a local and a global scale. Clinical manifestations, pathological consequences and complications of the infections caused by these agents and the impact on the population. Methods for diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control where appropriate, to include vaccines and public health measures will be discussed. Epidemiologies of selected infections will be addressed and the relevance to the global population in terms of current state towards the eradication of infection. How outbreaks are managed and the importance of monitoring, surveillance and reporting to assist in reduction of transmission. Medical mycology: Human fungal intoxications, allergies, and true infections (mycoses). Factors affecting susceptibility. Superficial and systemic mycoses, Candidiasis and cryptococcosis are covered in detail. In addition, aspergillosis and murcormycosis are also described. Clinical manifestations and pathological consequences of the infections discussed. Pathogenic mechanisms of the fungi. Host response to infection. Clinical symptoms and diagnosis. Methods for prevention, treatment and control. Bacteriology: Treponema pallidum, Chlamydia trachomatis and Mycoplasma spp. as agents of sexually-transmitted disease, and infections with related organisms. Nature of organisms. Clinical manifestations, pathological consequences and complications of the infections selected. Pathogenic mechanisms of the microbe and the host response to infection. Transmission, clinical signs, and diagnosis. Epidemiologies of the selected infections. Methods for prevention, treatment and control where appropriate e.g. public health measures, vaccines and antibiotic therapy: Mycobacterium The genus Mycobacterium with particular attention to species that are of medical significance. The importance of M. tuberculosis infection worldwide. Detailed understanding of the pathology, diagnosis, and treatment of tuberculosis.The importance of antibiotic resistance in strains of M. tuberculosis with particular emphasis on the growing problem of multi-drug resistance. The impact of co-infection with HIV and mycobacteria. Other mycobacteria of medical importance including environmental mycobacteria. Staphylococci. Organism characteristics, including a knowledge of the classification system applied to the genus. Diversity of infections caused by S. aureus and other key members of the genus. Examination of the arsenal of virulence factors of S. aureus and their association with key diseases. Specific reference to MSCRAMMS, toxins (including gene regulation and quorum sensing) and superantigens. S. aureus as an evolving pathogen. Overview of antimicrobial therapy and detailed analysis of antimicrobial resistance mechanisms (penicillin resistance, methicillin resistance and vancomycin resistance). Streptococci. Organism characteristics, including a knowledge of the classification system applied to the genus. Diversity of infections caused by streptococci and other key members of the genus (specifically S. pyogenes and S. pneumoniae ). Examination of the arsenal of virulence factors of S. pyogenes and S. pneumoniae and their association with key diseases. Post- streptococcal complications. S. pyogenes as an evolving pathogen. Treatment and prevention (vaccination) options. Escherichia coli . Organism characteristics, including a detailed background in classification and insight into the spectrum of infections this versatile and adaptable organism can cause. Specific information on virulence factors focussing on the different pathotypes of diarrhoegenic E. coli. Current typing schemes available and used in epidemiological studies. Legionella and Bordetella pertussis . Respiratory infections caused by Gram negative pathogens. Detailed background on the infections caused by and the pathogenic mechanisms of Legionella pneumophila and Bordetella pertussis . Detailed descriptions of risk factors, epidemiology and diagnosis of the pathogens. Multi-drug resistant Enterobacteriaceae . Antibiotic resistance in Gram negative bacteria. Antibiotic resistance mechanisms in Gram negative bacteria focussing on the multi-drug resistant Enterobacteriaceae . Options for treatment and preventative methods to limit and treat these infections. Acinetobacter baumanii. Epidemiology and risk factors, mechanisms of antibiotic resistance - acquisition and phenotypes. Environmental persistence and virulence.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:1. Critically identify, define and compare the factors influencing the (re) emergence of disease and the actions required for eradication or potentially a cure.2. Conceptualise the diverse pathogenic mechanisms exhibited by clinically-important bacteria, fungi and viruses, methods for their control and for the prevention of the diseases they cause.3. Provide information on the current epidemiological status of emerging disease caused by micro-organisms. 4. Design a programme of how outbreaks are monitored to reduce infection transmission.5. Appraise and explain scientific literature relating the pathogen and the disease and critically examine published data.6. Evaluate and appraise medical microbiological and systematic experimental and clinical data.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Students gain knowledge and understanding as a result of guidance through a formal lecture programme and extensive private study supported by tutorial sessions. Enquiry based learning will be undertaken as a student-centred learning package and a data interpretation exercise. Lectures and tutorials will support broader learning via photographic and video illustration and podcasts and the use of global information resources such as that provided by the World Health Organisation, European Centre for Disease control and Centre for Disease Control. Integrated studies are involved via the use of case studies describing infection to cure with model infections HPV and HCV delivered by staff working with Health Protection Scotland. This details research involving those delivering the material that has led to 'cure' for specific diseases of concern. Outbreak scenarios will also be covered with relevant examples to demonstrate real world issues and how they are addressed.

Indicative Reading

For this subject area which is constantly being updated, it is advised to refer to web information such as World Health Organisation, CDC USA, ECDC, Health protection Scotland and Public Health England. Information should be sought relevant to pathogen of interest. The main source of research information and current pathogens of interest is the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases ( <> ) For background reading on the organisms the following are suitable: Murray PR et al. (2016). Medical Microbiology (8th edition). Saunders. Bennett JE and Dolin R (2014). Mandell, Douglas and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Disease - 2 volumes (8th edition). Elesvier. Richman, Whitley & Hayden (2017). Clinical Virology, 3 rd Edition. American Society for Microbiology Press (2009 version available online). Viral pathogenesis : from basics to systems biology <,contains,viral%20immunology&mode=Basic> . Katze, Michael G., editor. 2016. Online access available via the Library. Selected papers from the following journals: Journal of Clinical Microbiology, Journal of Medical Microbiology, Clinical Microbiology Reviews, International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology Reviews in Medical Microbiology, Reviews in Medical Virology Trends in Microbiology, Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases ( Students will be given directed reading in appropriate research areas with an expectation to build on their knowledge using external sources.

Transferrable Skills

The module develops both subject specific and generic skills in research experimental design, statistical analysis, literature searching and scientific communication alongside epidemiological and related outbreak analysis. The student's key personal transferable skills are developed in the following areas: Communication skills: written coursework assessments; oral discussions during tutorials. Analytical skills: interpretation of experimental data and data analysis exercises, review and critical analysis of published data, completion of case studies. Information retrieval from library and electronic sources, use on on-line (via GCU Learn interactive learning packages). Independent study skills: independent learning via supervised assessments and SCL packages.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (FT) 80.00
Lectures (FT) 30.00
Assessment (FT) 25.00
Seminars (FT) 2.00
Tutorials (FT) 8.00
Independent Learning (FDL) 55.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Exam 01 3.00 70.00 35% Unseen, written examination
Course Work 01 3.00 30.00 35% Data Interpretation