The National Academies

The National Academies: What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

The New Science of Metagenomics: Revealing the Secrets of Our Microbial Planet (2009)

Although we can't see them, microbes are essential for every part of human life—indeed all life on Earth. The emerging field of metagenomics provides a new way of viewing the microbial world that will not only transform modern microbiology, but also may revolutionize understanding of the entire living world. This audio podcast looks at recommendations from the National Research Council on how to shape this emerging field of study and manage the immense findings that it is sure to provide.

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What do you know about infectious disease?

True or False: Thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative that was used in some vaccines and other products, has been shown to present a risk to human health.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The use of thimerosal has been an object of controversy, with some arguing that the substance caused autism in children. However, extensive independent research has presented no convincing evidence of harm associated with the low levels of thimerosal previously present in vaccines.

  • Correct!

    The use of thimerosal has been an object of controversy, with some arguing that the substance caused autism in children. However, extensive independent research has presented no convincing evidence of harm associated with the low levels of thimerosal previously present in vaccines.