University of Technology Sydney

090010 Communicable Disease

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2022 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Health
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


The prevention, detection, management and control of communicable diseases which affect human populations is a significant public health priority. Understanding the interactions between microorganisms, animals and humans promotes knowledge of transmission dynamics, susceptibility and primary prevention of communicable diseases. Exploring the burden of disease and epidemiology of communicable diseases globally enables more in-depth understanding of the social and ecological determinants of communicable diseases. Public health responses and challenges are examined using historical and contemporary examples, including the current global pandemic caused by the SARS-Cov2 virus. The principles of communicable diseases control, such as surveillance, outbreak investigation, control measures and prevention, are demonstrated using case studies. Finally, the mandate for integrated, coordinated, collaborative, interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral approaches, consumer-engagement and advocacy are deliberated and discussed.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. Describe, with examples, the interactions between microorganisms, humans, and animals that may have public health importance
B. Demonstrate the epidemiological principles underpinning communicable disease prevention and control
C. Critically analyse the relationships between social determinants of health and communicable disease outbreaks
D. Critically appraise the use of public health approaches to communicable disease control

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the following graduate attributes:

  • Demonstrate reflective critical thinking to enable critical appraisal of current practice, policy and research with the aim to enhance health care and healthcare outcomes, and transform health (1.0)
  • Critique, interpret and synthesise data and research findings to inform the surveillance, management, prevention of disease and illness and promotion of health for the complex issues inherent in public health (1.1)
  • Justify and demonstrate knowledge and skills necessary to provide leadership on matters critical to public health (2.1)
  • Contribute to policy-related dialogue and evaluation of public health strategies in the community (2.3)
  • Create and lead ethical accountability to ensure efficient use of resources and equity of access to public health services and programs (3.1)
  • Advocate for, create and respect the engagement of partnerships on matters critical to public health (4.2)
  • Establish a commitment to the development of knowledge and skills within public health in order to prioritise reducing disease, disability and illness (5.1)
  • Critically reflect upon the impact of ongoing colonisation and its pervasive discourse on Indigenous Australians and their health and wellbeing (6.2)

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject is designed to be interactive. Students will participate in a range of student-centred teaching and learning activities that will encompass critical analysis, discussions, reflections and problem solving. Students will be expected to search for relevant information and resources, read papers, listen to podcasts or watch film clips, and reflect on the issues presented in order to respond to key questions. Students will be expected to work independently, engage with other students online through discussion forums and engage with other interactive activities, such as Zoom meetings, for which they will have to prepare in advance.

Content (topics)

Module 1: Introduction to communicable diseases

  • Definitions
  • Microorganisms and taxonomy
  • Introduction to communicable disease epidemiology
  • Social determinants of health & communicable diseases

Module 2: Communicable disease prevention and control strategies

Part A: Principles underpinning communicable disease prevention and control

  • Primary, secondary and tertiary prevention
  • Surveillance
  • Testing and screening
  • Outbreak investigation
  • Contact tracing

Part B: Overview of communicable disease management strategies

  • Health protection – Immunisation, environmental sanitation (WASH strategies), vector control strategies, management of foodborne diseases, sexually transmitted infections & their management
  • Health promotion & health risk communication
  • Addressing social determinants of health
  • Communicable disease control systems and policy in Australia

Module 3: Key issues in communicable disease prevention

  • Public health action on communicable diseases globally
  • Globalisation and spread of communicable diseases
  • One Health
  • Climate change
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Hospital acquired infections
  • Systems thinking approaches


Assessment task 1: Application of communicable disease control principles: Online quiz


To assess knowledge, understanding and application of fundamental concepts in communicable diseases and their epidemiology.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A and B

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.0, 1.1 and 2.1

Type: Quiz/test
Weight: 15%

5 multiple choice questions and one short answer question. 60 minutes to complete the quiz/test.

Assessment task 2: Outbreak investigation


Students develop skills in outbreak investigation by applying knowledge of communicable disease epidemiology, surveillance and control.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A and B

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.1, 2.3, 4.2 and 5.1

Type: Case study
Weight: 40%

1800 words (maximum)

Assessment task 3: Addressing the social determinants of communicable disease morbidity


To apply knowledge about the social determinants of health to the prevention and management of communicable diseases.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

C and D

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

2.3, 3.1, 4.2, 5.1 and 6.2

Type: Report
Weight: 45%

2000 words (maximum)

Required texts

There is no set textbook for this Subject. However, there will be extension readings and textbook chapters listed in each Module.

Other resources

UTS Student Centre
Building 10

Monday to Friday: 9am - 5pm
Tel: 1300 ASK UTS (1300 275 887)

Details for student centres:

For other resources/ information refer to the Faculty of Health website ( and Canvas at:

UTS Library
The Library has a wide range of resources, facilities and services to support you including textbooks, subject readings, health literature databases, workshops and bookable study rooms. There is also a team of librarians to help you with your questions available via online chat, phone and in person. W:, Facebook: utslibrary, Twitter: @utslibrary Tel: (02) 9514 3666.

Improve your academic and English language skills
Marks for all assessment tasks such as assignments and examinations are given not only for what you write but also for how you write. If you would like the opportunity to improve your academic and English language skills, make an appointment with the HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support) Service in Student Services.

HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support)
HELPS provides assistance with English language proficiency and academic language. Students who need to develop their written and/or spoken English should make use of the free services offered by HELPS, including academic language workshops, vacation intensive courses, drop-in consultations, individual appointments and Conversations@UTS ( HELPS staff are also available for drop-in consultations at the UTS Library. Phone (02) 9514 9733.

Please see for additional information on other resources provided to students by UTS.

The Accessibility and Financial Assistance Service
The Accessibility Service can support students with disabilities, medical or mental health conditions, including temporary injuries (e.g., broken limbs). The Accessibility Service works with Academic Liaison Officers in each Faculty to provide ‘reasonable adjustments’ such as exam provisions, assistive technology, requests and strategies for managing your studies alongside your health condition. If you’re unsure whether you need assistance, we recommend getting in touch early and we can provide advice on how our service can assist you. Make an appointment with an Accessibility Consultant (AC) on +61 2 9514 1177 or

The Financial Assistance Service can assist you with financial aspects of life at university, including Centrelink information, tax returns and budgeting, interest-free student loans and grants to assist with course-related costs. Check eligibility and apply online and make an appointment on +61 2 9514 1177 or