BI2BI45-Infectious Diseases

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Pre-requisites: BI1S1 Introductory Microbiology
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Sheila MacIntyre


Type of module:

Summary module description:

To provide students with:
1. Knowledge and understanding of microorganisms including viruses, their life cycles and the consequences of infection.
2. A focus on the bacteria and eukaryotic microbes of importance in the hospital and community (supported by lectures from visiting healthcare professionals).
3. Knowledge of the antimicrobial treatments available for infectious disease
4. A working knowledge of bacterial and virological techniques applied to clinical samples including organism isolation, amplification, quantitation and identification.
(Note: although not an absolute prerequisite, BI1BAC2 – Bacteriology and Virology - is strongly recommended to provide important theoretical knowledge and practical skills).

Assessable learning outcomes:

Examples of the type of outcome that students will be able to do include:
•provide examples of bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses causing specific infectious diseases
•discuss aspects of epidemiology and practice in public health microbiology relating to these micro-organisms
•describe the targets and mode of action of key antibiotics, antiviral and antifungal chemotherapeutic agents and discuss problems of antimicrobial drug resistance
•describe the principles and procedures for traditional and newer methods for identifying the causative organism of infectious diseases
•describe the structure and replication of the main virus groups and how they are classified
•demonstrate practical skills used for the isolation and identification of medically important bacteria and viruses
•know how to isolate, propagate and quantify viruses
•describe the work of hospital laboratories and other sites where medical microbiology is carried out

Additional outcomes:
Students will be able to suggest ways to identify and quantify viruses including new isolates. They will also further their understanding of the importance of aseptic technique and gain confidence and initiative through individual, student directed practical work during the classes in the Spring Term.
Collaborative study and presentation skills will be strengthened through poster presentations. Student knowledge of potential careers will be broadened via interaction with microbiologists working in the healthcare environment.

Outline content:
This module begins with a mix of lectures on major infectious disease groups and laboratory practicals aimed at providing students with hands on experience of working with bacteria and viruses. Virology lectures include an overview of virology, bacteriophage and examples of important viruses of man and animals followed by detailed study of selected viruses such as the common cold virus (rhinoviruses); Foot and Mouth Disease virus; and smallpox virus. Methods used to classify and quantify viruses are compared and the factors affecting transmission of viruses within a population are discussed. Lectures are accompanied by laboratory classes which provide a thorough grounding in virological techniques including virus isolation, amplification and quantification. A variety of assay formats that measure virus presence directly (plaque assay and bioassay) are investigated.
The module then develops by looking at the clinical significance of infectious microbes, beginning with consideration of the normal microflora and associated pathogens; the balance of health and infectious disease; the gut microflora in health and disease, including activity of pro- and pre-biotics; pathogens typically associated with different classes of disease (such as respiratory, meningitis and bacteremia, cellulitis, gastroenteritis, genito-urinary tract). Traditional and newer methods of isolation and identification of ‘the microbial culprit’ is covered as is the epidemiology of infectious disease in the UK, e.g. TB, influenza, hepatitis, Meningococcal meningitis, whooping cough, E.coli 0157. Sources of disease are also addressed with consideration of pathogens carried in water supplies and the work carried out by PHE on emerging dangerous pathogens. A strong focus on antibiotics, mechanisms and current problems of antibiotic resistance, anti-fungal and anti-viral chemotherapeutics addresses current treatment options.
In Spring Term practicals, students work individually to isolate and identify the culprit microbe in several simulated disease scenarios and test antibiotic sensitivity. In addition, they can put into practice the theory from lectures and hospital visits to reinforce their GMP technique.
Posters, prepared in groups, focus on specific pathogens and each presents a different common UK pathogen and associated problems, e.g. antibiotic resistance, vaccination or control.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures, practicals (supported by online videos, demonstrations and problem solving exercises), group poster session.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10 16
Seminars 3
Practicals classes and workshops 20 22
Guided independent study 70 59
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 60
Report 20
Project output other than dissertation 5
Class test administered by School 15

Summative assessment- Examinations:
A two hour examination

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
Assessment includes: varied

Formative assessment methods:
Periodic monitoring of laboratory books and extensive verbal feedback during practical classes. Specific revision time is set aside in week 7 followed by an "open house" session for queries on the lectures or practical calculations in week 9. Discussions in poster sessions
Previous years' examination papers are available on Blackboard.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August/September

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 6 December 2018


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