In this unit, students explore the behaviors of specific diseases and the ways in which the government, communities, organizations, and individuals can respond to outbreaks of each. Students begin by analyzing a historical case study to learn about the ways in which epidemiologists use maps to locate the source of a disease. They then select a focal disease and create an action plan for how a community would respond to an outbreak of that microbial disease. Students then take on the roles of epidemiologists and public health officials in a simulation to mobilize each other’s action plans. To bring it all together, students create infographics about vaccination and handwashing with the goal of educating people about public health measures to prevent future outbreaks.

 

Use this unit at a glance to explore a brief outline of the materials included in this resource.

 

Unit Driving Question: How does a community get ready for an outbreak?

 

3 hrs 20 mins

In this series of activities, students learn about how microbial diseases are transmitted and start to think about who is involved in a community response to an outbreak of an infectious disease. Students use the case of John Snow to learn how epidemiologists can use maps to locate the source of an outbreak and map a hypothetical pathway of disease transmission for a particular disease. This lesson is part of the Menacing Microbes unit.

2 hrs 30 mins

Students evaluate different proactive and reactive measures that can be implemented in response to an outbreak of infectious diseases. They then explore how different contextual factors can present unique challenges for an outbreak response and disease prevention. This lesson is part of the Menacing Microbes unit.

2 hrs 30 mins

Students draw on real-world examples of public health action plans to develop their own community action plan for a response to an outbreak of a specific disease. This lesson is part of the Menacing Microbes unit.

activation
Verb

become active or operative.

airborne
Adjective

transported by air currents.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Noun

agency, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, whose mission is "to create the expertise, information, and tools that people and communities need to protect their health through health promotion, prevention of disease, injury and disability, and preparedness for new health threats."

cholera
Noun

infectious, sometimes fatal disease that harms the intestines.

climate
Noun

all weather conditions for a given location over a period of time.

community
Noun

social group whose members share common heritage, interests, or culture.

Noun

disease-producing agent, like a virus or bacteria; can also refer to the disease itself or the transmission of the disease.

contagious
Adjective
capable of being transmitted by contact with an infected person or object.
contain
Verb

to keep under control, hold, or prevent escape.

containment
Noun

act or policy of limiting the spread of an idea or influence.

contaminate
Verb

to poison or make hazardous.

coordination
Noun

process of organizing people or groups so that they work together well.

demobilization
Noun

break up the organization of or disband.

demobilize
Verb

deactivate, disband; often refers to armed troops, disaster response teams, or similar groups.

diagnose
Verb

to identify a disease or problem.

direct transmission
Noun

when disease-causing germs pass from an infected person to a healthy person via direct physical contact with blood or body fluids. 

disease
Noun

harmful condition of a body part or organ.

droplet
Noun

tiny drop (as of a liquid).

Noun

outbreak of an infectious disease able to spread rapidly.

fecal
Adjective

having to do with excrement.

immunization
Noun

process of becoming immune to a disease.

indirect transmission
Noun

when disease-causing germs pass from an infected person to a healthy person via sneezes or coughs, sending infectious droplets into the air or onto objects.

infectious
Adjective

communicable; passed from one person to another.

lab testing
Noun

procedure used to identify or characterize something, conducted under controlled scientific conditions in a lab (also called Laboratory).

medical treatment
Noun

care given to a patient for an illness or injury, relating to the science or practice of medicine.

microbe
Noun

tiny organism, usually a bacterium.

mobilize
Verb

set into motion, assemble for action.

monitoring
Verb

watch, keep track of, or check.

mortuary services
Noun

service providing a space in which dead bodies are kept, for hygienic storage or for examination, until burial or cremation.

non-pharmaceutical interventions
Noun

actions, apart from getting vaccinated and taking medicine, that people and communities can take to help prevent or limit the spread of illnesses.

notification
Noun

action of notifying someone or something.

oral
Adjective

having to do with the mouth or spoken words.

outbreak
Noun

sudden occurrence or rapid increase.

patient zero
Noun

person identified as the first carrier of a contagious disease in an outbreak of related cases.

personal hygiene
Noun

action or habit of keeping oneself clean, especially as a means of maintaining good health.

policy
Noun

set of actions or rules.

population density
Noun

the number of people living in a set area, such as a square mile.

practice
Verb

to do or perform often, customarily, or habitually

recall
Noun

manufacturer’s request that all the purchasers of a certain product return a product that may be defective or contaminated.

route
Noun

path or way.

rural
Adjective

having to do with country life, or areas with few residents.

symptom
Noun

sign or indication of something.

transmission
Noun

when disease-causing germs pass from an infected person to a healthy person.

urban
Adjective

having to do with city life.

vaccine
Noun
preparation of a weakened or killed pathogen, or of a portion of the pathogen's structure that upon administration stimulates antibody production against the pathogen but is incapable of causing severe infection itself.
vector
Noun

animal that transmits a disease from one organism to another.

warning
Noun

notice or bulletin that alerts to a hazard.

waste management
Noun

collection, disposal, or recycling of materials that people have discarded.