Infectious Disease

This module examines the treatment, prevention and control of infectious disease both locally and globally. It includes study of the human immune system and its response to an infectious disease.

The value of studying infectious disease and its causes and effects is highlighted by the cost to humans in terms of losses in productivity and production and the impact on overall health. The module also considers medical and agricultural applications that draw on the work of a variety of scientists.

Biology Syllabus p.53


Causes of Infectious Disease

How are diseases transmitted?

describe a variety of infectious diseases caused by pathogens, including microorganisms, macroorganisms and non-cellular pathogens, and collect primary and secondary-sourced data and information relating to disease transmission, including: (ACSBL097, ACSBL098, ACSBL116, ACSBL117)

– classifying different pathogens that cause disease in plants and animals (ACSBL117)

– investigating the transmission of a disease during an epidemic

– design and conduct a practical investigation relating to the microbial testing of water or food samples

– investigate modes of transmission of infectious diseases, including direct contact, indirect contact and vector transmission


investigate the work of Robert Koch and Louis Pasteur, to explain the causes and transmission of infectious diseases, including:

– Koch’s postulates

– Pasteur’s experiments on microbial contamination


assess the causes and effects of diseases on agricultural production, including but not limited to:

– plant diseases

– animal diseases


compare the adaptations of different pathogens that facilitate their entry into and transmission between hosts (ACSBL118)


Responses to Pathogens

How does a plant or animal respond to infection?

investigate the response of a named Australian plant to a named pathogen through practical and/or secondary-sourced investigation, for example:

– fungal pathogens

– viral pathogens


analyse responses to the presence of pathogens by assessing the physical and chemical changes that occur in the host animals cells and tissues (ACSBL119, ACSBL120, ACSBL121, ACSBL122)



How does the human immune system respond to exposure to a pathogen?

investigate and model the innate and adaptive immune systems in the human body (ACSBL119)


explain how the immune system responds after primary exposure to a pathogen, including innate and acquired immunity

Prevention, Treatment and Control

How can the spread of diseases be controlled?

investigate and analyse the wide range of interrelated factors involved in limiting local, regional and global spread of a named infectious disease


investigate procedures that can be employed to prevent the spread of disease, including but not limited to: (ACSBL124)

– hygiene practices
– quarantine
– vaccination, including passive and active immunity (ACSBL100, ACSBL123)
– public health campaigns
– use of pesticides
– genetic engineering


investigate and assess the effectiveness of pharmaceuticals as treatment strategies for the control of infectious disease, for example:
– antivirals
– antibiotics


investigate and evaluate environmental management and quarantine methods used to control an epidemic or pandemic


interpret data relating to the incidence and prevalence of infectious disease in populations, for example:
– mobility of individuals and the portion that are immune or immunised (ACSBL124, ACSBL125)
– Malaria or Dengue Fever in South East Asia


evaluate historical, culturally diverse and current strategies to predict and control the spread of disease


investigate the contemporary application of Aboriginal protocols in the development of particular medicines and biological materials in Australia and how recognition and protection of Indigenous cultural and intellectual property is important, for example:
– bush medicine
– smoke bush in Western Australia