Are You an Infectious Disease Expert?

Maria Trimarchi

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

From the devastating impact of plague and smallpox to today's Ebola and Zika pandemics, there's never a dull moment in the world of emerging and infectious disease. Test your knowledge of these historical and modern-day disease disasters.

If you're doing it the right way, it should take you the same time to wash your hands as it does to sing what song?

It should take you the same amount of time to wash your hands as it does to sing "Happy Birthday" -- twice.

What type of organism can cause an infectious disease?

Bacteria, fungi, and viruses -- along with parasites -- are all microorganisms that can cause infectious diseases.

Which is not an infectious respiratory disease?

Emphysema is not an infectious illness. The majority of cases are caused by smoking.

What modern-day pandemic killed more people than World War I?

It's estimated between 20 million and 50 million people died worldwide as a result of the 1918 "Spanish flu" pandemic.

During her time as a cook, "Typhoid Mary" unknowingly spread the virus to an estimated 122 New Yorkers. What was her real name?

Typhoid Mary was really Mary Mallon, an asymptomatic carrier who spread typhoid fever to more than 100 people in the early 1900s.

Which highly-contagious disease began with a single infected person at Disneyland and sickened about 150 people in the U.S. in an outbreak in 2015?

About 150 people were infected with measles between December 2014 and February 2015, after being exposed to it at Disneyland in California.

Which is not a disease transmitted by mosquitoes?

Lyme disease, caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, is transmitted by certain ticks, not by mosquitoes.

How many known infectious diseases that affect humans can also infect animals?

More than 60 percent of infectious diseases that can infect humans also infect animals.

How long can methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) live on a cotton towel?

Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can live up to 9 weeks (about 3 months) on your towels. Think that's a long time? It's able to survive for more than 6 months on your blankets.

Where was the largest outbreak of Ebola in recorded history?

West Africa experienced the largest outbreak of Ebola in history, beginning in 2014 and lasting for two years. There were 15,261 confirmed cases, 28,652 suspected and a total of 11,325 deaths.

Which of these infections affects your whole body?

HIV, measles and yellow fever are each systemic infections, meaning they affect the whole body.

Where is the most common place in your body for a local infection to develop?

Your respiratory tract, specifically the upper respiratory tract, is the most frequent place in your body for an infectious disease (such as the common cold) to develop.

How many people's lives have been saved in the U.S. because of vaccinations during the last 20 years?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, about 732,000 lives were saved because of vaccination against infection disease in the U.S. in the last 20 years.

What percent of the population needs to be vaccinated in order for "herd immunity" to work?

Experts say that for herd immunity to work, as many as 96 percent to 99 percent of the community need to have been vaccinated.

Which bacteria is known to cause stomach ulcers?

An Helicobacter pylori infection is what causes stomach ulcers.

Which of these infectious diseases was identified in the last 50 years?

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is among infectious diseases discovered since 1970.

Without vaccination, one person who's infected with the measles virus can spread it to how many people?

One infected person could spread measles to as many as 11 to 18 other people (who haven't been vaccinated).

Which type of soap is recommended for handwashing at home, work or out and about?

As it turns out, antibacterial soap is not the No. 1 soap experts want us to use. Their recommendation? Plain old soap and water.

Which infection is associated with cervical cancer?

While all of these viruses are associated with certain cancers, some human papillomaviruses have been implicated in causing not only cervical cancer but also anal, oral, penile, vaginal and vulval cancers, as well.

About how many people infected with Lassa fever experience hearing loss?

About one-third of people infected with Lassa fever lose some or all of their hearing.

How deadly is smallpox?

Smallpox kills one out of three people who get it. In 1980, after a large-scale vaccination campaign, smallpox was declared eradicated -- worldwide.

Some infections have the potential for deliberate harm. Which of these is not considered a bioterrorism agent?

The Cordilla virus was a fictional weaponized virus that appeared on a storyline of the TV show "24." The virus caused nose bleeds, hemorrhaging and skin abscesses in those exposed to it, and it was deadly.

How many people are infected with the plague every year?

The plague isn't just a thing of the past. Today it still infects between 1,000 and 2,000 people annually.

An outbreak of what killed tens of thousands at Rwandan refugee camps in the Democratic Republic of Congo 1994?

An outbreak of cholera killed tens of thousands of Rwandan regufees.

Which type of infection can wake up viruses, including chickenpox and Epstein-Barr, that were dormant in your body?

Enterovirus infections are very common but have an unexpected side effect. They can cause dormant viruses including cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) and varicella zoster virus (chickenpox) to reactivate.

Which mosquito is responsible for spreading dengue, chikungunya and Zika viruses?

Aedes aegypti, along with Aedes albopictus, are responsible for spreading all three of these infections: dengue, chikungunya and Zika.

Which was not a flu remedy during the 1918 "Spanish flu" pandemic?

Antiviral medications weren't available in the early 20th century. The first didn't become available for clinical use until 1960 (and it was to treat herpes).

When did scientists discover the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)?

In 1984, scientists identified HIV as the cause of AIDS.

What do most people infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) develop?

Most people infected with this coronavirus develop pneumonia.

What other infectious disease is chikungunya related to?

Chikungunya virus, which causes chikungunya disease, is a relative of dengue virus, which causes dengue fever.

What generation were you born in if it's recommended you get screened for hepatitis C?

If you're a baby boomer, health experts recommend you get screened for hepatitis C.

Which is an example of being infected by indirect contact?

If you touch that germ-ridden hotel room remote control and then touch your eyes (or nose or mouth), you could be indirectly infected.

When was the U.S. declared polio-free?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, polio has been gone from the U.S. since 1979.

How many people carry Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the germ that causes TB infections, without any symptoms?

Roughly 30 percent of people worldwide carry the TB bacterium but aren't sick from it.

Which is considered an "emerging" infectious disease?

All of these are considered emerging infectious diseases, which means they've grown increasingly threatening to humans over the last 20 years.

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