Animal Viruses: Their Transmission and the Diseases They Produce Course - Complutense University of Madrid


2 locations available
Read more about this program on the institution's website

Program Description


Discover how animal viruses are transmitted between animals and humans, and learn more about the diseases they produce.

Explore the science behind animal viruses and how they are transmitted

Animal viruses cause huge economic losses to farmers and severe emotional distress to animal owners.

They may even be transmitted to humans, known as a zoonosis, posing important questions about their spread and control.

In this course, you will learn about animal viruses, such as parvovirus, that affect pets, birds, sheep, cattle, swine and horses, and produce important diseases, including zoonotic diseases.

The course has been developed by a team at the Complutense University of Madrid, who are all experienced in teaching virology and infectious diseases at veterinary schools at Madrid and Alfort.

What topics will you cover?

  • Introduction to animal viruses, their form and structure (or morphology), and characteristics. Basic information to help understanding viral diseases in animals and humans.
  • Faecal-oral transmission: using parvoviruses and canine parvoviruses as an example.
  • Open wounds: focusing on rabies and other zoonotic viruses, which produce diseases in both humans and animals.
  • Arthropod transmission: viruses that are carried by insects and ticks, and introduced directly into the bloodstream.
  • Airborne transmission: such as influenza, which may be transmitted from birds and pigs to humans.
  • Other infections difficult to control because they are persistent: produced by viruses that remain in their host, including herpesvirus and retrovirus.

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts.

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to:

  • Describe the differences between DNA and RNA viruses, naked and enveloped viruses, and how this affects the variability of the genome and the resistance pattern to physical and chemical agents.
  • Describe the epidemiology and the transmission routes of the diseases dealt with in the course and identify which are transmissible to humans (zoonosis).
  • Reflect on the effects of climate change on the distribution of vectors of viral diseases and, thus, on the spread of arboviral diseases.
  • Identify which vaccines are used for the different viral diseases mentioned, their types, and problems that may arise from their use.
  • Compare the transmission requirements for the different ways viruses spread: airborne, through the skin (vertebrate/invertebrate/vector bites) shed in faeces, and how to avoid spread through management, such as quarantine, disinfection.
  • Reflect on the pathogenesis of the different diseases, how viruses produce each specific disease and the main clinical signs of the diseases mentioned above.
  • Evaluate which samples and techniques are the most conclusive to diagnose the different viral diseases mentioned above.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone with a keen interest in the science behind animal viruses and animal diseases. It will be particularly useful to veterinary and science students wishing to complement their studies and anyone working in animal health and welfare.

Basic knowledge of biology is desirable, although not required. Though some aspects may be basic for specialists, such as veterinarians, the course will certainly complement their previous knowledge.

What software or tools do you need?

No specific hardware or other resources is required. A few steps will require a padlet, which is freely available online.

Please note that the videos for this course are delivered in Spanish, with English subtitles and transcripts.

Who will you learn with?

Esperanza Gomez-Lucia

I have a DVM and a PhD in Animal Health. I am a Prof. at the Universidad Complutense of Madrid at the Vet School. I find my work very motivating and love it. But I also have many other hobbies.

Ana Doménech Gómez

I have a DVM and a PhD in Animal Health. I am a Professor at the Veterinary School at Universidad Complutense, Madrid. My research is mainly focused on animal viruses. I love teaching!

Laura Benítez Rico

I am an Associate Professor at the Biological Sciences School of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. I am passionate about viruses especially from birds and I enjoy teaching about it.

Cinta Prieto

I am an Associate Professor at the Vet School in Madrid. My research is mostly on viral diseases of pigs.

Sophie LePoder

I am a teacher at the École Nationale Vétérinaire d'Alfort. I love viruses and teaching about them. I also participate in a European project about teaching virology.

Isabel Simarro

Professor of Animal Health, his teaching activity in grade has focused on the disciplines of Infectious Diseases, Preventive Medicine and Sanitary Police, and Zoonoses and Public Health.

Who developed the course?

Complutense University of Madrid

The Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) is the largest public research university in Spain and is widely regarded as one of its most prestigious academic institutions.

L'école nationale vétérinaire d'Alfort

The National veterinary school of Alfort (École Nationale vétérinaire d’Alfort or ENVA), is a French public institution of scientific research and higher education in veterinary medicine.

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Last updated Oct 2020

About the School

Learn 100% online with world-class universities and industry experts. Develop your career, learn a new skill, or pursue your hobbies with flexible online courses.

Learn 100% online with world-class universities and industry experts. Develop your career, learn a new skill, or pursue your hobbies with flexible online courses. Read less
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