Woman sneezing Creative commons image Credit: By mcfarlandmo via Flickr under Creative Commons license Woman sneezing


The Open University's iTunes and YouTube channels have launched a series of videos using expert commentary, animation and stylised visuals to provide an engaging introduction to microbiology, examining the impact microbes have had on humans through a historical perspective, from Egyptian times to the present day.

Amongst these videos is one which explores the microbial origins of the Black Death and another reveals how the natural processes of microbes are used to fight disease (see this video below).

Flu Map

Currently, a great deal of information about influenza-like illnesses is not recorded because many people treat themselves at home. It is only when cases become serious enough to be reported to a doctor that official statistics become available. To capture some of this 'missing' data, we the Open University has developed a flu mapping tool where you can enter your own flu data anonymously and see all the information we currently have and how this changes over time via Google Earth.

Taking your learning further

Try a free course and explore the biology of influenza as well as a range of topics including: the virus, infection, replication, mutation, immune responses, pathology, surveillance, diagnosis and treatment. Or take a look at courses from the online prospectus...