Publication No. 10760
Student Laboratory Kit
Materials Included In Kit
Citizen Exchange Overhead
Additional Materials Required
(for each class)
The glowing germ is hand lotion with a nontoxic UV-sensitive dye. It is harmless but should be treated as a laboratory chemical. Remind students to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water before leaving the laboratory. Please consult current Safety Data Sheets for additional safety, handling and disposal information.
Please consult your current Flinn Scientific Catalog/Reference Manual for general guidelines and specific procedures, and review all federal, state and local regulations that may apply, before proceeding. Gloves, glowing germ, hand lotion and index cards may be disposed of according to Flinn Biological Waste Disposal Type VI, in the regular trash.
To further explore disease transmission, see Flinn Catalog No. AB1210, AIDS—Transfer of Body Fluids Kit.
Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)†
Science & Engineering PracticesAsking questions and defining problems
Developing and using models
Analyzing and interpreting data
Engaging in argument from evidence
Disciplinary Core IdeasMS-LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience
HS-LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience
Cause and effect
Scale, proportion, and quantity
MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
Answers to Prelab Questions
*Infected † Initially infectedCitizen Exchange Overhead
Answers to Questions
A World Health Organization (WHO) report shows that one-third of all deaths worldwide are due to infectious and parasitic diseases. Infectious and parasitic diseases are spread from person to person mainly through air, water and physical contact by way of small organisms called pathogens. Most pathogens are difficult to avoid as they cannot be seen. Examples of pathogens are viruses, bacteria, fungi and infectious parasites, such as Plasmodium, amoeba and nematodes. The Epidemic simulates the transmission of a pathogen through physical contact. Many pathogens are transmitted in this manner.
The terms contagion, causal agent and pathogen are broad terms used to describe any virus, bacteria, prion (protein), protozoa, worm or genetic mutation that causes harm to living things. Most of these potential disease agents are invisible to the naked eye and also fairly widespread—the majority of surfaces are covered with beneficial and pathogenic microbes. It is the type and concentration of pathogenic microbes, combined with the health and immune capabilities of the human host that determine how, when and if a person will get sick. The study of how and why people and animals become ill and how to prevent and control illness is called epidemiology.
People may be contagious before they exhibit any external symptoms of illness while they exhibit symptoms for most pathogens and, for some pathogens, even after they appear well. In an urban setting, an infected or contagious individual may encounter hundreds of potential victims a day. This aspect of urban life generates an exponential infection rate. For example, one contagious person who has direct contact with just four people may pass the illness onto 75% of them. The next infection generation begins with four infected individuals, the original and three victims. These four individuals would contact an additional 16 individuals, 12 of whom would become infected and so on.
Vaccination is an effective means of preventing people from getting sick when they are exposed to the same contagion contained in the vaccine. Epidemiologists routinely investigate if the people in close contact with an infectious person have been vaccinated against that particular contagion. Any non-immune person is vaccinated. This is called ring vaccination or surveillance and containment. Surveillance and containment manages an outbreak of disease by means of vaccination or prescribing antibiotics to the people in immediate contact with the sick individual and then monitoring those individuals for symptoms of the illness. The idea is to form a “buffer” of immune individuals to slow down the rate of infection and thus prevent the disease from spreading to the general population.
This activity simulates the spread of an infectious disease throughout the globe. The participants will represent the populations of four large cities. Interaction among the separate cities will occur as several individuals from each city travel through a central international airport. At the completion of this simulation, students will understand how pathogens can quickly infect the entire world population, why some people remain unaffected after exposure and how the identity of the originally infected person can be found by analyzing data collected during the simulation.
Although the materials used in this laboratory are considered nonhazardous. May cause irritation to individuals with extremely sensitive skin. Please follow appropriate laboratory safety procedures. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before leaving the laboratory.
Analysis and Conclusions