Biology / Epidemiology / Evolution / Health / Medicine / Science

Childhood diseases

Robert asked: Why are some transmissable diseases usually associated with childhood, e.g. mumps, chicken pox, when others are age-independent, e.g. colds? The diseases typically associated with children are really, really common in the population, meaning everyone comes into contact with them eventually… but a single infection provides you with lasting immunity. So children are likely … Continue reading

Biology / Health / Medicine / Microbiology / Science

An unexpected bonus

I’ve been steering clear of covering the COVID-19 pandemic, as described in an earlier post, but I couldn’t resist sharing some news about an old friend of mine. It turns out that the BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guérin) vaccine may be good for more than just protection against infection by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. How’d we figure that out? Well, … Continue reading

Biology / Epidemiology / Health / Microbiology / Science

What is R0?

Given the new coronavirus which has emerged in Wuhan, China, there’s a lot of panic spreading around the internet. This hasn’t been helped by the irresponsible and factually incorrect fearmongering of a Harvard epidemiologist, Dr Eric Feigl-Ding. Without linking to him, so as to prevent amplifying him further, I’ll give you the gist of what … Continue reading