The National Academies

The National Academies: What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

Back to the Future: The 1918 Influenza Revisited (2009)

Public health officials and organizations around the world remain on high alert because of increasing concerns about the prospect of an influenza pandemic, which many experts believe to be inevitable. The 1918 - 1919 influenza pandemic killed more people in absolute numbers than any other disease outbreak in history. There are lessons to be learned from the 1918 outbreak, regarding how we address the issues facing us today.

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What do you know about infectious disease?

True or False: Not all microbes are harmful to humans.

  • Correct!

    Not all microbes are harmful to humans. In fact, many of them protect us, helping our bodies function properly and competing with harmful organisms in an eternal contest for habitable space in or on our bodies. Although the microorganisms that cause disease often receive more attention, most microorganisms do not cause illness.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Not all microbes are harmful to humans. In fact, many of them protect us, helping our bodies function properly and competing with harmful organisms in an eternal contest for habitable space in or on our bodies. Although the microorganisms that cause disease often receive more attention, most microorganisms do not cause illness.