Ebola in Context: Understanding Transmission, Response and Control


This three-week free course looks at the science behind the Ebola outbreak, to understand why it has occurred on this scale and how it can be controlled.



Ebola in Context - Understanding Transmission, Response and Control. A free online course starting January 2015.


Access the free course materials

The course

This free online course looks at how Ebola, a disease that many people had never heard of, has caused a humanitarian crisis and worldwide panic. It examines the science behind the outbreak, to understand why it has occurred on this scale and how it can be controlled. 

The course is taught by experts from a wide range of disciplines from epidemiologists and clinicians to anthropologists and health systems researchers. There will be contributions from experts from a range of disciplines, including those who have been directly involved in the Ebola outbreak at different stages and from different angles.

Modules / activities will be structured around the following themes:

  • Infection and the importance of context
  • Why and when to isolate? The logic and experience of isolation
  • Transmissibility: measuring and experiencing an epidemic
  • Reducing transmission: what works?
  • How can we reduce the deaths? Treatments and survival
  • Could vaccines be the answer?
  • The future and wider impact: where is the epidemic going?

By the end of the course you should have an understanding of the key principles that underlie the spread of infectious diseases, and of the key importance of context in determining transmission and shaping control efforts.

Who is this course for?

This course is designed for healthcare professionals or anyone working in a health organisation; undergraduate students taking a healthcare or science-related degree; medical students and postgraduates wishing to complement their studies; and anyone else with a keen interest in the science behind Ebola.

Main contributors:

  • Professor Judith Glynn, Lead Educator and Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
  • Professor Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, co-discovered the Ebola virus in 1976, was founding director of UNAIDS and Under Secretary-General of the United Nations and is currently Chair of the World Health Organization's scientific committee on Ebola.
  • Professor David Heymann, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the School, Co-Chair of the WHO Director General’s advisory group on the Ebola response and Chair of Public Health England.
  • Professor John Edmunds, Dean of the Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health at the  School , member of the World Health Organization's scientific committee on Ebola, leading mathematical  modelling of the epidemic.
  • Dr Fred Martineau, paediatrician and researcher, coordinator for the Ebola Response Anthropology Platform
  • Dr Shunmay Yeung, paediatrician and health policy researcher, recently returned from working with Save the Children in Sierra Leone –  Listen to her podcast
  • Dr Olivier Le Polain, public health physician and epidemiologist, recently returned from working with Save the Children in Liberia