Pages: 2 pages ( 550 words, Double spaced
Academic level: Undergrad. (yrs 3-4)
Subject or discipline: Biology (and other Life Sciences)
Number of sources: 2
Write a 700 word essay answering the following six questions from a case study. Figures a and
b are included under additional materials.
Background: Working as an epidemiologist with the Georgia Department of Public Health, Janet
completed her final assessment of the walking pneumonia outbreak that occurred during fall
semester 2012 at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Figure a). She was relieved that the
largest pneumonia outbreak at a U.S. university in 35 years was finally over.
Figure a. The number of Mycoplasma pneumoniae cases among students at Georgia Institute of
Technology in 2012
1. How long did the outbreak last?
2. How many total students were diagnosed?
Figure b. An electron micrograph of Mycoplasma pneumoniae cells ( attached)
(Diagram shows Mycoplasma pneumaniae cells showing several shapes inside a square.)
3. Why do the Mycoplasma bacteria shown have such unusual cell shapes?
4. Predict the effectiveness of treating a Mycoplasma infection with penicillin, an antibiotic that
inhibits cell wall synthesis.
5. Should Janet’s prevention plan include administering a vaccine against walking pneumonia?
Background to answer Q 5 ( Using a survey to assess the effectiveness of their outreach
campaign, Janet was pleased that 79% of the students who were aware of the outbreak
reported following her recommendations to reduce infection spread. She was frustrated,
however, to discover that 54% of the campus was completely unaware of the outbreak, putting
them at high risk both for acquiring the infection and for serving as a pathogen reservoir that
could extend the outbreak.)
6. What methods of communication do you think would be the most effective means of reaching
college students with this vital information?