Influenza: A case study
Influenza: A case study

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

6 Conclusion

As you reach the end of this free course you should consider some of the important points that the study of flu raises.

  1. A single pathogen can produce different types of disease in different people. Genetic variation in a pathogen can also affect the type of disease it produces. To understand this we need to know something of the genetic and social differences in the host population, and of the diversity of the pathogen.
  2. The symptoms of a particular disease may be produced by different pathogens or by a combination of pathogens. To understand this requires some knowledge of pathology and cell biology.
  3. Some diseases, such as flu, affect humans and several other animal species, whereas others are more selective in their host range. The basic biology of different pathogens underlies these differences.
  4. Flu is a disease that can be contracted several times during a lifetime, but many other infectious diseases are only ever contracted once. To understand this we need to look at how the immune system reacts to different pathogens, and how responses vary depending on the pathogen.
  5. Outbreaks of flu occur regularly, but some epidemics are much more serious than others. This requires an understanding of aspects of virology, immunology, evolutionary biology and epidemiology.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371