Explore the science, prevention and control of epidemics.
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“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.” (1)
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:
(1) 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.
Gabriel Leung is Dean of the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine at the University of Hong Kong. He is also Chair Professor in the School of Public Health and honorary consultant in family medicine and primary care. Previously he was Head of the Department of Community Medicine. Gabriel Leung served in government as Hong Kong’s first Under Secretary for Food and Health and fifth Director of the Chief Executive's Office. He regularly advises various national and international agencies including the World Health Organization, World Bank and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Thomas Abraham is Director of the Master of Journalism programme at the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at HKU, and an Associate Professor of Practice. He teaches courses in Health and Science journalism and his research work focuses on risk communication during infectious disease epidemics, the role of the media in communicating risk and global health security. He is a consultant for the World Health Organization on risk communication, and worked at WHO headquarters in Geneva during the influenza pandemic. Thomas Abraham has been a journalist for 25 years and is a former Editor of the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong.
Ben Cowling is Head of the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the HKU School of Public Health. He teaches epidemiology and biostatistics on the MPH curriculum, and his primary research focus is in infectious disease epidemiology. In recent years, he has designed and implemented large field studies of influenza transmission in the community and the effectiveness of control measures. He has strong links with China CDC, and the NIGMS-funded Harvard Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics. Ben Cowling is a consultant for the World Health Organization on the development of infectious disease surveillance systems in China. He is a fellow of the Royal Statistical Society and a member of the American Statistical Association.
Professor Guan is Director of the State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases at the University of Hong Kong. His research focuses on the ecology, evolution and pathogenesis of influenza and other emerging respiratory viruses. Over the past decade, his research team has made distinguished contributions to research in virology and to the control of emerging infectious diseases in China and the world. His work on SARS led to the successful identification of the SARS-Coronavirus, its infectious source from live animal markets, and helped the Chinese Government successfully avert the second SARS outbreak in early 2004.
Mark Jit works as both a Senior Lecturer in Vaccine Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and also in the Modelling and Economics Unit of Public Health England. He teaches postgraduate and professional courses on modelling and economics of infectious diseases. His main research interest is in epidemiological and economic modelling of infectious disease control interventions to support evidence-based public health decision making. In particular, his work has helped inform immunisation policy on a range of vaccines (including HPV, pneumococcal, rotavirus and influenza vaccines) in both developed and developing countries.
Tommy Lam is a research assistant professor at the HKU School of Public Health. He is a statistical geneticist and bioinformatician studying the ecology, epidemiology and evolution of infectious diseases. He teaches molecular epidemiology and bioinformatics in postgraduate courses and international workshops. He was a Newton Fellow Alumni of the Royal Society and The British Academy.
Marc Lipsitch is Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health and Director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, a center of excellence funded by the MIDAS program of NIH/NIGMS. He is also the Associate Director of the Interdisciplinary Concentration in Infectious Disease Epidemiology. His laboratory work occurs in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases. His research concerns the effect of naturally acquired host immunity, vaccine-induced immunity and other public health interventions (e.g. antimicrobial use) on the population biology of pathogens and the consequences of changing pathogen populations for human health.
Professor Malik Peiris is a clinical and public health virologist at HKU with a particular interest in emerging virus disease at the animal-human interface. His research has provided understanding on the pathogenesis of the 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus and on avian influenza viruses H5N1, H9N2 and H7N9. He played a key role in the discovery of the novel SARS-coronavirus. Malik Peiris coordinates a multi-disciplinary Area of Excellence Program in Hong Kong on the “Control of Pandemic and Inter-pandemic Influenza”. He is an investigator in the Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (CEIRS) program of the US National Institutes of Health. He also co-directs the WHO H5 Reference Laboratory at HKU.
Joseph Wu leads the infectious disease modeling research at the HKU School of Public Health. His primary research is on influenza epidemiology and control, particularly focusing on pandemic preparedness and response. His work primarily entails developing mathematical models to assess the potential benefits and logistical requirement of influenza epidemic mitigation and surveillance strategies. He is a member of the Scientific Committee for the Center for Health Protection in Hong Kong. Joseph Wu is an affiliated faculty member of the Center for Communicable Diseases Dynamics (CCDD) at the Harvard School of Public Health. He is the coordinator of the annual CCDD infectious disease modeling course.
Professor Kwok-Yung Yuen, Chair of Infectious Diseases at HKU, has the rare distinction of being a microbiologist, surgeon and physician. He is a fellow of both the UK and Hong Kong Colleges of Pathologists, Surgeons and Physicians, and the American College of Physicians. KY Yuen was the first Director of the State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases at HKU– the first State Key Laboratory outside the Mainland. He was also the Scientific Co-director of the HKU-Pasteur Research Centre. KY Yuen played a key role in the discovery of the agent causing SARS, and also published the first clinical and laboratory diagnostic paper on Influenza A H5N1 in the Lancet.
Maria Zhu is Assistant Professor at The University of Hong Kong and Adjunct Professor at the Shantou University. She is also Associate Director of the Division of Infection, International Institute of Infection and Immunity, Shantou University Medical College and the State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases Partner Laboratory at HKU-Shenzhen Branch. She is a molecular biologist and virologist with particular interests in emerging infectious diseases caused by RNA viruses. Her research in recent years has provided understanding of the genesis, development and risk assessment of the swine-origin pandemic H1N1/2009, the avian H7N9 and other related emerging influenza viruses.