• 70°

Infectious disease outbreaks are on the minds of Catawba College honors students

Fifteen Catawba College honors students studying infectious diseases this semester got a hands-on look at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

The honors class is called “Outbreak!” and is taught by biology professor and assistant provost Dr. Steve Coggin.

Although the course focuses on cholera, plague, syphilis, measles, tuberculosis and leprosy, it coincided with the Ebola virus’ epidemic in West Africa and its first appearances in the United States.

Students in the Outbreak! class have discussed Ebola every day, read a book about an earlier outbreak of Ebola in monkeys in the U.S. and saw disease control and prevention in action when they toured the David J. Sencer Museum at the Centers for Disease Control.

At the Centers for Disease Control, students learned about the eradication of small pox, the elimination of malaria from the U.S., the AIDS epidemic and Legionnaire’s disease.

The students have also read extensively about the safety measures needed to work with the most dangerous pathogens in Biosafety Level 4 labs. These measures include working in a biohazard suit like those seen pictured in news coverage of the Ebola crisis.

The museum at the Centers for Disease Control had several of these suits, also referred to as space suits, that the students were able to try on, giving them a brief taste of how difficult it is to work with dangerous microbes.

Not only did the students find them difficult to get into, they also said they were hot and the helmet fogged up once the suit was sealed.

The students in the Outbreak! class also did an experiment to demonstrate Koch’s Postulates with a fungal disease of oranges and to prove an organism causes disease.

The Outbreak! students have also run mathematical models of epidemics to examine the effect of population size, infection rate and recovery rate. Mathematical simulations, such as these, are essential for epidemiologists to understand a disease and perhaps stop an outbreak.

Comments

Elections

Democratic candidate for 13th District will host virtual fundraising event with actor Mark Hamill

Crime

Blotter: Charlotte man charged with weapons-related offenses after vehicle stop, chase

Crime

Fugitive wanted in two states arrested in traffic stop

Crime

Sisters charged with assaulting mom during argument over colored pencils

Crime

Police looking for Salisbury man in shots fired incident

Crime

Charlotte woman faces drug charges after being stopped in rental car

Business

Multi-building development on East Innes begins to take shape after years of delays

Education

‘We know what time it is’: Livingstone students hear from local candidates for office

Education

Shoutouts

Local

Lee Street theatre pivots after positive COVID-19 tests cancel live shows

Elections

Local voters say first presidential debate devoid of substance, contained little to change minds

High School

Interest is spiking in South volleyball

Education

Education Briefs: Superintendent survey now available for community members

Education

Celebrating national 4-H week

Education

Robots with phonics: Rockwell Elementary is blending subjects to engage with kids

Crime

Agreement to divert minor disciplinary incidents from court ready for public feedback

Nation/World

Biden, Trump snipe from road and rails after debate chaos

Nation/World

Debate commission says it will make changes to format

Coronavirus

County moves up to fourth in state for COVID-19 deaths

Crime

Photo: Truck wanted in connection with Reaper’s Realm shooting

Coronavirus

North Carolina moves to Phase 3, but COVID progress is ‘fragile’

Coronavirus

Changes to expect when phase three starts Friday

Crime

Blotter: Concord man faces weapons, marijuana charges after traffic stop

Elections

Political sign stealing on the rise in Rowan as campaign season heats up