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An Introduction to Infectious Diseases

Arm yourself with scientific facts about bacterial infections, viruses, vaccines, and more in this engaging course by an award-winning professor and physician.
An Introduction to Infectious Diseases is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 73.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent This is a very well-organized survey of infectious disease. Prof. Fox is an accomplished public speaker. We gather from the copyright of the course booklet that this is a vintage 2015 production so that it was released well before the COVID-19 pandemic that began with an outbreak in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. That makes Lecture 24 (Outbreak! Contagion! The Next Pandemic!) all the more remarkable as Prof. Fox, after running through all of the possible causes for the next pandemic with rigorous logic, identified the coronaviruses, e.g., SARS and MERS as the most likely culprit for the next big one. That’s putting the arrow at the perfect center of the target. Nice shooting. HWF & ISF, Mesa AZ
Date published: 2024-06-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very good course I watched this through the Prime subscription so I don't have the coursebook I hear comes with it. I've been in health care for 20 years and 18 in the lab. I found it to be a very well rounded refresher with new information. There were some issues such as the slides didn't always match the topic being discussed and he kept using opossums as an example as a carrier for rabies. Opossums are almost completely immune to rabies as they have a low body temp which rabies can't survive. Also not a fan of his numerous personal examples. Obviously this isn't meant to be a college course, but short of that it's about as informational as it can get keeping it toned down so the non medical person can follow along.
Date published: 2023-10-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enjoyed it very much This is a course that I will probably revisit from time to time. Lots of detailed information on the subject helped me gain a better understanding of infectious diseases. It also makes one grateful for the medical pioneers and researchers that have made contributions to understanding these diseases. Lesson 24 addressed the ramifications of a possible future pandemic; interesting because the course was made before the covid-19 pandemic. I wonder what Dr. Fox would think about the world's response?
Date published: 2023-05-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Course - Very Informative! This is the second time we have viewed this course. The first time was when The Great Courses offered free viewing at the beginning of the Covid pandemic. This was a tremendous help in putting Covid 19 into some perspective. We decided it was time for a refresher and so purchased the course, whose material is still very relevant. The presenter is very knowledgeable and easy to watch and listen to. Some of the material is a little advanced for those of us without a degree in biology, but it is kept to a minimum and the course should prove very useful to the average lay person. I would greatly appreciate a 2nd edition that picks up where the current course left off, covering Covid as well as other contagions that have emerged since the original filming. Definitely great to have this course as part of our Great Course's collection. 5 Stars!
Date published: 2022-12-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Medically accurate and lucid presentation Dr Goodman presents a well-organized, cogent introduction to infectious diseases and their treatment in easily understood language. Medical terms, when used, are clearly defined. Yet it would be helpful as a review or introduction for a beginning medical student.
Date published: 2022-10-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An accurate title Excellent course by a well qualified teacher. The material is Interesting and well presented.
Date published: 2022-09-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An excellent overview of infectious disease. As a retired pharmacist, I enjoyed the course immensely. I particularly enjoyed lecture 24 regarding the prediction of next pandemic. As I write this in June 2022, we have been in pandemic of SARS-CoV-2 for two years. I only wish Dr. Fox didn't eliminate SARS as the source of next pandemic. But he was correct in that the next pandemic would have happened in Asia due to some type of virus. Thank you for the excellent lectures. I cannot imagine anyone who gave one star and did not enjoy the lectures.
Date published: 2022-06-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An introduction to Infectious Diseases I tested COVID-19 'Positive' recently. I did not know how the viruses invade our body before. After learning this Great Course of "An introduction to Infectious Diseases' I feel like I have become a virologist. An excellent lecture. Greatly recommended. Thank you Prof. Barry Fox.
Date published: 2022-05-03
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Infectious diseases affect everyone. They account for 26% of all deaths worldwide, and unlike chronic diseases, they have the potential for explosive global impacts. In An Introduction to Infectious Diseases, get an accessible overview of diseases-from the mundane to the fatal-from a renowned physician who specializes in this topic. This comprehensive course provides the most reliable and up-to-date information.


Barry C. Fox

Infectious diseases have played a significant role in changing the course of human history.


University of Wisconsin
Dr. Barry Fox is a Clinical Professor of Infectious Disease at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. He currently practices in clinical infectious disease at two hospitals and a long-term care facility. He received his undergraduate degree in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University and his medical degree from Vanderbilt University. He is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Infectious Disease. He was named the Medical Educator of the Year by the Department of Medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 1994 and was chosen by the Internal Medicine Residency Program as the Attending of the Year in 1991. Dr. Fox has been chosen numerous times as a Top Doc by Madison Magazine. On a national level, he has been recognized as one of the Best Doctors in America and made the list of America's Top Physicians compiled by the Consumer Research Council of America. Dr. Fox has authored or coauthored four book chapters and over 40 articles in a wide assortment of peer-reviewed journals; he also has presented abstracts and given presentations to audiences around the world. In addition, he serves as a peer reviewer for medical journals. He is a fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and is a member of the Emerging Infections Network. He was also elected as a Fellow for the Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America. Dr. Fox is a member of the worldwide Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics.

By This Professor

An Introduction to Infectious Diseases
An Introduction to Infectious Diseases


The Dynamic World of Infectious Disease

01: The Dynamic World of Infectious Disease

Dive into the fascinating stories behind three notorious diseases: bubonic plague, malaria, and polio. See how scientists of the time were able to discover the causes of these diseases and develop effective treatments. Also, learn why infectious diseases are still a pressing issue for our society, despite our advances in science and technology....

32 min
Bacteria: Heroes and Villains

02: Bacteria: Heroes and Villains

Start your study of the basic elements of germ theory with bacteria. Once you've inspected the anatomy of a bacterium cell and its function, explore how bacteria can cause disease and how they can adapt to make themselves elusive to your immune system. Then, investigate three diseases caused by bacteria: diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus....

32 min
Viruses: Hijackers of Your Body's Cells

03: Viruses: Hijackers of Your Body's Cells

Zoom in to see a particle 100 times smaller than bacteria: the virus, which can replicate inside living cells. Follow the life cycle of a virus as you see what viruses like HIV and Ebola do to host cells. Meet two germs that fall between bacteria and viruses-the spirochete and rickettsia....

33 min
Moldy Menaces and Fungal Diseases

04: Moldy Menaces and Fungal Diseases

Although fungal diseases usually don't involve humans, they can indirectly affect us, and they have played a major role in human history. Investigate diverse infections that can be acquired when you come into contact with mold or fungus-sometimes by raking or blowing rotting leaves! Also learn whether or not you should have your household duct system cleaned regularly....

31 min
Milestones in Infectious Disease History

05: Milestones in Infectious Disease History

Where would we be without the scientists that brought to life the inventions and discoveries that are the foundations of modern medicine? In this lecture, meet some of the people who developed the tools to identify microorganisms, the means to pinpoint the source of a disease, the vaccinations to prevent them, and the drugs to treat them....

33 min
Antibiotics: A Modern Miracle Lost?

06: Antibiotics: A Modern Miracle Lost?

Trace the history of antibiotic development and explore how the eight classes of antibiotics attack bacterial infections. Gain an introduction to the increasingly important concern of antibiotic resistance, and learn how you can contribute to the more prudent use of antibiotics....

33 min
Which Germs in Your Daily Life Matter?

07: Which Germs in Your Daily Life Matter?

Microbes are all around us-the question is "What do we have to worry about?" From airplanes to restaurants, hotel rooms to your master bathroom, learn how you can protect yourself from germs without becoming totally obsessed with them. Is there any truth to the Five Second Rule? Find out in this lecture....

31 min
Six Decades of Infectious Disease Challenges

08: Six Decades of Infectious Disease Challenges

Track the history of infectious diseases decade by decade: the easily cured childhood illnesses of the 50s, the diseases spread by risky behaviors in the 60s, and the outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease in the late 70s, followed by the tragedies of human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, in the 80s and 90s....

31 min
Vaccines Save Lives

09: Vaccines Save Lives

From routine childhood vaccinations to the experimental vaccines given to Ebola patients in Africa and the United States, vaccines have a powerful effect on public health. Learn the facts about the four different types of vaccines and their components, and discover why the concept of herd immunity is critical to public health....

32 min
The Immune System: Our Great Protector

10: The Immune System: Our Great Protector

Take a closer look at the intricate components of your body that try to protect you from dangerous infectious diseases. Then, explore immunosenescence-the changes in your immune system as you age-and learn proven ways to keep your immune system strong and prevent illness....

32 min
Zoonosis: Germs Leap from Animals to Humans

11: Zoonosis: Germs Leap from Animals to Humans

Seventy percent of infectious diseases originate from wildlife. Why are new diseases-such as bird flu and swine flu-so prevalent, and how are these exotic diseases being transmitted from animals to humans? Learn how to protect yourself from these diseases, including two you can get from your cat....

33 min
Tick-Borne Diseases: A Public Health Menace

12: Tick-Borne Diseases: A Public Health Menace

These small ectoparasites have emerged in force and have created a new public health crisis. Discover why tick-borne diseases are so easy to contract but difficult to diagnose, and get the facts about Lyme disease, the most common tick-borne illness in the United States....

31 min
Food-Borne Illness: What's Your Gut Feeling?

13: Food-Borne Illness: What's Your Gut Feeling?

From traveler's diarrhea to food poisoning, explore a myriad of illnesses that can enter the body through the food you eat. Gain an awareness of a severe bacterial infection that is on the rise in hospitals, particularly in patients over age 65....

32 min
Respiratory and Brain Infections

14: Respiratory and Brain Infections

Turn now to severe respiratory and central nervous system illnesses that may have deadly consequences. Zoom in to the cellular level to see how complicated these infections can be, and how deadly pneumonia and bacterial meningitis can become. Learn to recognize the symptoms of pneumonia and meningitis, and when to seek medical attention....

30 min
Flesh-Eating Bacteria and Blood Poisoning

15: Flesh-Eating Bacteria and Blood Poisoning

Continue your study of the body with infections that affect the skin and bloodstream, including the powerful sepsis infection, which is responsible for 10% of deaths in the United States. Get the facts on necrotizing fasciitis, or "flesh-eating bacteria," and travel back 40 years to follow the evolution of the resistant bacteria MRSA....

32 min
STDs and Other Infections below the Belt

16: STDs and Other Infections below the Belt

Begin this lecture with a fascinating story of a twist of fate in 1951 that turned out to be one of the most important developments in medical history. Then, study infections that attack the urinary tract and pelvic organs, and learn more about the wide range of sexually transmitted diseases....

31 min
Stay Out of the Hospital!

17: Stay Out of the Hospital!

Go behind the scenes at a hospital, and unveil the truth: what is perceived as a pristine and sterile environment is really bustling with all kinds of germs. Discover why some hospitals forbid their doctors to wear white coats and wedding rings, and learn what you can do to protect yourself if you must be hospitalized....

31 min
The Nemesis of Mankind: HIV and AIDS

18: The Nemesis of Mankind: HIV and AIDS

More than three decades after the first cases of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) were reported, the global health community is still dealing with a pandemic of 33 million infected people, of which about 3 million are children. Learn the scientific facts behind this virus and why it is so difficult to find a vaccine or cure....

31 min
Malaria and Tuberculosis: Global Killers

19: Malaria and Tuberculosis: Global Killers

In spite of a multitude of global efforts to decrease their mortality rates, these two ancient diseases are still the deadliest in the world. Go beyond vaccines and mosquito netting and see the innovative experiments being conducted in an attempt to eradicate malaria and tuberculosis....

32 min
Global Travel, War, and Natural Disasters

20: Global Travel, War, and Natural Disasters

Witness the toll infectious diseases take on populations during times of war and natural disasters, using examples from Napoleon's armies to modern-day Syria. Then, learn why your personal physician isn't the best person to talk to about risks when you're about to embark on foreign travel....

32 min
Influenza: Past and Future Threat

21: Influenza: Past and Future Threat

Despite being a common disease, the flu is responsible for some of the deadliest pandemics of all time. Explore two important biological aspects of influenza-antigenic drift and antigenic shift-to understand why changes in viruses can have such a huge impact on disease prevalence....

32 min
Bioterrorism: How Worried Should We Be?

22: Bioterrorism: How Worried Should We Be?

Explore the three scenarios that pose the greatest threats in a bioterrorism attack: an airborne agent like anthrax, a smallpox attack, and a release of botulinum toxin in cold drinks. Understand the steps that the CDC takes to protect the public and what you can do as an average citizen....

32 min
Emerging and Reemerging Diseases

23: Emerging and Reemerging Diseases

The outbreak of Ebola in 2014 in West Africa became an international crisis in a matter of weeks-even traveling across the ocean to the United States. Explore deadly emerging and reemerging diseases that continually challenge our detection and response abilities....

31 min
Outbreak! Contagion! The Next Pandemic!

24: Outbreak! Contagion! The Next Pandemic!

Using your newly acquired infectious disease knowledge, look into the future and discern what the next pandemic might be-one that would reach all continents quickly, be difficult to treat, be extremely deadly, and perhaps threaten the very survival of the human race!...

35 min