The Bubonic plague slowed urbanisation, industrial development and economic growth in Europe for many years.
Despite being so small they can't be seen with the naked eye, pathogens that cause human disease have greatly affected the way humans live for centuries.
Spanish flu killed more people than the Great War that preceded it. And tuberculosis even more than that.
Here we explore our past and present struggles with four of the most significant infectious diseases human beings have faced, and some of the progress we've made in prevention and treatment.
What can a single person’s flu infection tell you about how the virus changes around the world?
Xue and Bloom
New genetic technologies are letting us look at flu evolution right where it starts: within individual people, while they're sick.
Computers may play an important role in preparing us for the next viral outbreak – whether flu or Ebola.
UW Institute for Protein Design
This antivirus software protects health, not computers. Researchers are beginning to combat deadly infections using computer-generated antiviral proteins – a valuable tool to fight a future pandemic.
When resources are scarce, deciding who should be front of the queue for the flu vaccine is an ethical minefield.
Australia needs to think about who gets the flu vaccine first before the next pandemic strikes and supplies run low.
Capturing the moment for the internet.
Yelp and Twitter can help us spot food poisoning outbreaks quickly. But a new study shows the data favor some communities over others.
While the flu vaccine cuts your chance of coming down with influenza, that’s not the whole story.
As we head towards flu season, many people are wondering if it's worth getting vaccinated against influenza and if so, when. Here's what you need to know.
After the Spanish flu we didn’t see any new flu strains for forty years. Now novel strains are increasingly popping up.
How is it the flu has managed to stay around for so long, and why haven't we beaten it yet?
Flu vaccination uptake rates are low in adults, including among those who work in health, aged care and childcare.
Most immunisation campaigns continue to primarily focus on infants and children, but almost 4 million Australian adults are not vaccinated against preventable diseases.
The avian influenza strain of bird flu is thought to spread across continents via wild migratory birds.
Functional early warning systems help countries respond to a disease before it spreads.
A Ugandan chicken farmer rides to market in this file photo. In the wake of an outbreak of avian flu farmers have been told to quarantine their poultry.
Since regular monitoring for avian influenza viruses started, several subtypes that have been circulating - but not all pose a threat to humans.
What if it wasn’t back to the drawing board every year for a new flu shot?
Flu virus mutates so quickly that one year's vaccine won't work on the next year's common strains. But a new way to create vaccines, called 'rational design,' might pave the way for more lasting solutions.
HIV plays hide and seek with the body’s immune system to evade detection. But we can learn from its tactics to make a range of vaccines against infectious diseases.
Researchers are learning how HIV hides from the immune system to develop a new generation of vaccines for seemingly unrelated diseases, like the flu.
Image Point Fr/Shutterstock.com
Universal flu vaccines have reached the stage where they are no longer just a 'hopeful hypothesis'.
Stay home if you get the flu.
Getting a flu shot reduces your risk of getting the flu, and it also helps the community. Here's why.
But what are the risks?
Computer modelling can help in the fight against the spread of disease.
It took a computer to discover the potential threat of a drug-resistant strain of swine flu that was about to spread from New South Wales. So how close did we come to a global pandemic?
The flu vaccine – which prevents one from getting influenza – changes every year, because it is based on the strains of the virus that presented in the previous year.
Ed Hutchinson/University of Glasgow
Understanding how the flu virus copies itself could open a way to killing it.
Happy pictures make people believe drugs are safer and more effective.
Some advertising content bypasses regulations to promote unrealistic beliefs about drugs.