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Epidemics - the Dynamics of Infectious Diseases

Coursera · The Pennsylvania State University · 20 HN points · 2 HN comments

HN Academy has aggregated all Hacker News stories and comments that mention Coursera's "Epidemics - the Dynamics of Infectious Diseases" from The Pennsylvania State University.
Course Description
Not so long ago, it was almost guaranteed that you would die of an infectious disease. In fact, had you been born just 150 years ago, your chances of ...
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This course is offered by The Pennsylvania State University on the Coursera platform.
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You may be interested in which is a global simulated outbreak, playable on iPhone and android phones.

The games goes together with the online MOOC "Epidemics - the Dynamics of Infectious Diseases"

Oct 15, 2013 · 20 points, 9 comments · submitted by jamiecollinson
I was privileged to take a course with David Hughes at Penn State on parasites taking over hosts, primarily ants (think zombie ants) and can say without hesitation it was one of the most interesting courses I've taken to date.

Thanks so much for posting this. There are so many MOOCs that I want to take but can't due to other stuff which have precedence (like university) and even though this is completely out of my field of study it looks interesting and at the same time the workload seems light.
Course and moocdemic lead here. I've designed the course with you in mind (to be frank, with me in mind, but I'm exactly like you ;-). Too many MOOCs out there in my opinion that just transfer offline education to online.
> Too many MOOCs out there in my opinion that just transfer offline education to online.

This is very true. And the hourly estimates required are underrated in my experience. I am taking a coursera course that claimed 5-8 hours of investment per week; in reality I am spending 12-18 hours per week (skipping optional assignments).

> And yes, we will be talking about Zombies - not human zombies, but zombie ants whose brains are hijacked by an infectious fungus.

Can't beat a sense of humour. That right there made me want to s ign up.

>but zombie ants whose brains are hijacked by an infectious fungus.

This is the fungus that causes ant zombification:

This Walking Dead course would fit in nicely.

Looks cool! Just signed up. Completely out of my field of expertise, but something I've been fascinated by. Hoping the simulation is as cool as I expect it to be!
The simulation is separate from the course:

"MOOCDEMIC is a simulation game of a real world epidemic. It is best played on a mobile device.

"The game is being run in parallel with a Coursera MOOC (massive open online course) entitled: Epidemics - The Dynamics of Infectious Diseases. Although they are being run in parallel, neither requires participation in the other to advance. The MOOCDEMIC game can be played without participating in the online course and vice versa, but in our completely unbiased view, you should totally sign up for the course - it's absolutely free and you won't regret it.

"The thing is, knowing how epidemics unfold might be helpful in the game. And the game will be using actual concepts and terms from epidemiology, which will hopefully help cement ideas in place from the course.

"The game is developed by Marcel Salathé and members of his research group at the Center for Infectious Diseases Dynamics at Penn State University.

Good points. I would just add two things. First, as you say, the percentage you need to reach herd immunity depends on a lot of factors. Broadly speaking, the vaccination coverage you need is 1 - 1/R0, where R0 is the basic reproductive number of the disease ( For diseases like measles, where the estimated R0 is above 10, you need at least 90% vaccinated, perhaps even more; for other diseases it may be lower.

Second, even if you reach herd immunity, it is a concept that completely relies on a random vaccination distribution. Say your R0 is 10, and you have attained a vaccination coverage of 90%, you may still get lots of outbreaks, because the 10% that are unvaccinated may not be randomly distributed. Indeed, it's becoming quite clear that in almost all cases unvaccinated people are clustered. This is why you get these sporadic outbreaks in under-vaccinated communities.

We (some of my colleagues at the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics and I) are doing a MOOC this fall on exactly these topics:

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