Infectious diseases hardly ever disappear from the headlines — swine flu is only the last in a long list containing SARS, bird flu, HIV, and childhood diseases like mumps, measles and rubella. If it's not the disease itself that hits the news, then it's the vaccines with their potential side effects. It can be hard to tell the difference between scare mongering and responsible reporting,
because media coverage rarely provides a look behind the scenes. So how do scientists reach the conclusions they do?

An activity for the classroom
We have all become more aware of the dangers of influenza this year, but why is it so dangerous? Julia Gog explains that the unusual structure of the influenza genome can lead to dangerous evolutionary jumps, and how mathematics is helping to understand how the virus replicates.
Making sure that vaccination works
Some preliminary results on the swine flu pandemic
How do we know how many people have got it?
Plus starts a new project on health and medicine
How does it spread?
The travels of bank notes give important clues to epidemiologists
Researchers have used mathematical modelling to understand the evolution of the influenza virus.
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