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The case studies are meant to be an enjoyable, interesting, and informative assignment.  This is your chance to show that you understand the key teaching points about a microbe and to communicate the

The case studies are meant to be an enjoyable, interesting, and informative assignment.  This is your chance to show that you understand the key teaching points about a microbe and to communicate these points to in a written format.  Have at least 3-4 key referenced points in each of the five areas.  The chart below suggests the type of information requested for the pathogen. Outlines can be in whatever form you prefer (bullets/charts/outlines/diagrams or a mix).  Be sure to include two discussion questions (and provide complete answers) that you can incorporate into your case study (place them at the end of your write-up). These questions should help connect your case to other material in the course.  For example, what other microbes have an A-B toxin?  What other viruses are transmitted by fecal-oral spread?  Pertinent references can be listed at the bottom of your outline in a small font. Use Council of Science Editors (CSE) Style format for all references. Your textbook may be listed as “Microbiology:  A Human Perspective Eugene W. Nester McGraw-Hill Publisher 7th edition/ 2012”.

Typical Case

What does a typical case look like?  Use the standard format for a patient presentation with chief complaint (CC), history of present illness (HPI), key physical exam details (PE), lab findings, signature signs, and any other important findings.

Description of the infectious agent

If it is a bacterium, how is it classified?  If it is a virus, what kind of nucleic acid does it have?  Does it target specific cellular types (tropism)? Does it form a spore? Is it aerobic? Is it intracellular?  Can it only be grown in a specific type of media? How is it distinguished from other members of the species? Does the pathogen have a significant history with humans or animals?


What do you feel are the most important points about the epidemiology of the disease?  Incidence? Portal of entry? Source? Is it a normal microbiota component in the human body? Does it only occur in certain populations or certain geographical areas?  Is there a vector involved? What and who is the vector? Is it zoonotic? Does it appear seasonally? Are there currently any outbreaks of this pathogen? What is its ecological niche? Is there a reservoir? Are there currently any outbreaks or epidemics of disease from this pathogen?


What is the range of diseases caused by the agent?  What organs are affected? What symptoms might the patient have? What is the disease course?  Will the patient recover? Are there any long-term sequelae of infection? Latency?


Is there an antitoxin? Specific antibiotics or a class of antibiotics that are used? Is there a vaccine available? Is treatment curative? Does infection make you immune? Is this immunity life-long? Is there drug resistance? Are there novel treatments?


  1. The written case presentations are submitted through Blackboard in Unit 5 of the course. When you reach Unit 5, be sure to e-mail your instructor to receive a list of the Case Study selections.
  2. Please name the files in the following manner “Lastname Firstinitial CS Y”.  For example, if I am submitting a Case Study on tularemia, I would name the case study file “Frisardi M CS tularemia”. 
  3. For the Case Study, you are asked to provide at least the information requested in the boxes. The boxed questions are suggestions for the minimum amount of information within each category. The more detailed the information, the better the study. You may consult your textbook, CDC, Google Scholar, NCBI, WebMD, etc. to find the information. For example, if you perform a Google search using the name of the pathogen and the word ‘vaccine’, you will find information on current vaccines (if any), those in clinical trials, vaccines used only in animals, etc. Be sure to provide two (2) discussion questions (as well as provide answers) with your case study.

Be sure to consider the directions carefully and include all the requested information (especially the two discussion questions with responses and scientific literature references). 

Discussion questions you may choose from, choose 2:

  • 1.After receiving personalized genomic information, how might you use such knowledge with respect to your own health?
  • 2.Would a genetically tested family member providing children or other family members with information regarding genetic information (such as carrier status) be desirable?
  • 3.Might such testing be used as a prerequisite for employment, spousal selection, marriage, adoption, or IVF embryo implantation?
  • 4.What was the specific original intent of the intervention or procedure described in each of the papers and what was their unintended consequence(s)?
  • 5.Can you offer a solution or remediation for any or all of the resulting consequences from these interventions?
  • 6.What is the Hygiene Hypothesis (described in the Roduit paper) and how is it related to this discussion?
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