SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 15.00
ECTS Credit Points 7.50
Module Code MMC525886
Module Leader Linda Scobie
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Honours degree in relevant discipline

Summary of Content

Detailed study of 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 module represents the changing dynamic of the field of emerging disease and content will reflect current interest.


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 Medical mycology: Human fungal intoxications, allergies, and true infections (mycoses). Factors affecting susceptibility. Superficial and systemic mycoses. Tinea, candidosis, cryptococcosis. Clinical manifestations and pathological consequences of the infections selected. Pathogenic mechanisms of the fungi. Host response to infection. Clinical signs and diagnosis. Methods for prevention, treatment and control. Aspergillosis and other environmental organism infections. Clinical manifestations and pathological consequences of the conditions selected. Host response to infection. Clinical signs, 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 pneumophila 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.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:1.Define and compare the factors influencing the (re) emergence of disease and the actions taken. 2. Discuss the relationship between the host and the organism and the impact on global health.3. Discuss and compare the diverse pathogenic mechanisms exhibited by clinically-important bacteria and viruses, methods for their control or for the prevention of the diseases they cause.4. Relate the principles of medical mycology; particularly the diagnosis and treatment of human mycoses important in the British Isles.5. Recognise the current epidemiological status of emerging disease caused by micro-organisms.6. Appraise and explain scientific literature relating the pathogen and the disease.7. Evaluate and appraise medical microbiological and systematic experimental and clinical data. 8. Relate infections of global relevance in the context of the local environment.

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.

Indicative Reading

Murray PR et al. (2012). Medical Microbiology (7th 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 (2009). Clinical Virology, 3rd Edition. American Society for Microbiology Press. Selected papers from the following journals: Journal of Clinical Microbiology, Journal of Medical Microbiology, Clinical Microbiology Reviews, Emerging Infectious Diseases (www.cdc.gov/eid) International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology Reviews in Medical Microbiology, Reviews in Medical Virology Trends in Microbiology. Students will be given directed reading in appropriate research areas with an expectation to build on their knowledge using external sources.

Transferrable Skills

The student's personal transferable skills should be 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
Seminars (FT) 2.00
Independent Learning (FT) 100.00
Lectures (FT) 30.00
Tutorials (FT) 10.00
Assessment (FT) 20.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Exam (Dept) 02 2.00 20.00 45% Case Study based on a scenario of infection with a bacterial or viral disease of relevance.
Exam (Exams Office) 3.00 60.00 45% Unseen written examination.
Exam (Dept) 01 2.00 20.00 45% Data Analysis of a published peer-reviewed manuscript in an area related to the subject matter.