GHS 202A - Communicable Diseases of Global Importance

This course will broadly cover the global burden of communicable disease, including of the history, biology, epidemiology, treatment, and control of leading infectious diseases. Particular focus will be on HIV infection, malaria, and tuberculosis, and additional viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections will be addressed. The course will include lectures, seminars, independent study, student presentations, and preparation of a final project.


At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Explain key features of the major communicable diseases of global importance, including HIV infection, malaria, and tuberculosis
  • Enumerate the major neglected diseases of global health importance and their control, including disease burden, clinical features, geography, and means of treatment, prevention, and control
  • Describe the main principles of prevention and control of communicable diseases
  • Describe available approaches to the control of the most important infectious diseases of the developing world
  • Identify barriers to effectively controlling communicable diseases in resource-limited settings, including poverty, limited technology and infrastructure, and socio-political constraints
  • Formulate strategies for improved control of global infectious diseases

Course content

  • HIV I: History, epidemiology and prevention
  • HIV II: Biology, host-viral interactions, disease manifestations, opportunistic infections, antiretroviral treatment and access.
  • Malaria I: Epidemiology, biology, host-parasite interactions, clinical features, diagnosis
  • Malaria II: Treatment, control, prevention, and elimination
  • Tuberculosis: Basic concepts, history, host-bacterial interactions, routes of spread, epidemiology, global inequities, prevention and control strategies
  • Dengue virus infection in Latin America
  • Neglected tropical diseases
  • Helminths and protozoa of medical importance
  • Global health and the eye, with emphasis on trachoma.
  • Influenza and respiratory infections
  • Diarrheal disease
  • Infectious diseases of urban slums
  • Zoonoses and prevention of new pandemics
  • Short presentations by students

Course Co-directors

Vivek Jain, MD, MAS
Christina Yoon, MD, MPH

Teaching format

Lectures, seminars, independent study, assigned paper, quizzes, midterm exam

Course credit

3 units