16621 - Microbiology and Veterinary Epidemiology

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Docente: Sara Ciulli
  • Credits: 7
  • SSD: VET/05
  • Language: Italian
  • Moduli: Sara Ciulli (Modulo 1) Sara Ciulli (Modulo 2) Caterina Lupini (Modulo 3)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2) Traditional lectures (Modulo 3)
  • Campus: Cesena
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Aquaculture and Fish Production Hygiene (cod. 8834)

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course, the student has knowledge on bacterial and viral pathogenic microorganisms, their structural and metabolic organization, diagnostic techniques and major immune response mechanisms. Furthermore, the student knows the main methods of description and epidemiological characterization of animal infectious diseases and is able to apply the main tools of veterinary epidemiology and interpret the results of epidemiological studies.

Course contents

The Course of Veterinary Microbiology and Epidemiology consists of 3 modules:

Module 1 Virology

Module 2 Bacteriology and Immunology

Module 3 Epidemiology

Module 1 Virology (12 hours academic lectures and 5 hours practicals)

  • General features of viruses.
  • Morphology and chemical composition.
  • Virus-host interaction.
  • Viral replication, Baltimore classification.
  • Viral genetic: mutation. Recombination, reassrtment.
  • Laboratory diagnosis of viral disease.
  • Taxonomy and classification of virus.
  • Viral taxa of fish health concerns.
  • Practicals: traditional (cell cultured based) and molecular (PCR-based) methods to diagnose viral infection/diseases.

Modulo 2 Batteriologia e Immunologia (18 hours academic lectures and 7 hours practicals)

  • General bacteriology: functional structure of the bacterial cell and bacterial cultivation;
  • Bacterial genetics: mutations and ricombinations;
  • Bacteria as pathogenic agents: interaction microorganism-host and pathogenic properties of bacteria;
  • Methods for microorganism control: physical and chemical agents in the control of microorganisms, antibiotics and antibiotic-resistance;
  • Special bacteriology: classification of bacteria, Eubacteria Gram-negative, Gram positive and without cell wall.
  • General properties of immune responses;
  • Antigens and immunogenicity;
  • Innate immunity;
  • Adaptive immunity, humoral immunity and cell-mediated immunity;
  • Mucosal immunity and passive immunity;
  • Vaccines
  • Practicals: Bacterial isolation; Serology

Modulo 3 Epidemiologia (26 hours academic lectures and 4 hours practicals)

  • Introduction to epidemiology: historical information, definition, basis.
  • The aim and scope of epidemiology.
  • Causality: associations, causal inference and casuality; statistical significance.
  • Ecology of diseases: factors related to the presence, maintenance and transmission of infectious diseases in animal population; difference between infection and disease; factors related to etiological agent, host and environment.
  • Diagnostic tests: the way to choose and evaluate diagnostic tests; specificity, sensibility, predictive value and detection limit.
  • Measures and frequency.
  • Disease trends in relation to the time: endemic, epidemic and sporadic trends.
  • Sampling: samples and population; sample size; methods.
  • Surveillance: definition, goals and mechanisms.
  • Different types of epidemiological surveys.
  • Risk assessment.
  • Molecular epidemiology.
  • Practicals: diagnostic tests and sampling (team group).


Module 1. Virology

Poli G., Cocilovo A., Dall'Ara P., Martino P.A., Ponti W. Microbiologia e immunologia veterinaria, III Edizione, EDRA, Milano, 2017.


Scagliarini A., Battilani M., Ciulli S., Balboni A., Gallina L. Manuale di virologia veterinaria (Prima edizione), Bonomia University Press, Bologna, 2013.

Powerpoint slides, video used in class and quiz are available at https://virtuale.unibo.it/

Module 2. Bacteriology and Immunology

Poli G., Cocilovo A., Dall'Ara P., Martino P.A., Ponti W., Microbiologia e immunologia veterinaria, III Edizione, EDRA, Milano, 2017.

Tizard I., Veterinary immunology: an introduction, VII Ed. Saunders Company, Philadelphia, 2004.

Powerpoint slides and  videos udes in class are available at https://virtuale.unibo.it/

Module 3. Epidemiology

Bottarelli E., Ostanello F. Epidemiologia: teoria ed esempi di medicina veterinaria. Edagricole, Milano, 2011 ISBN-978-88-506-5347-8

http://www.quadernodiepidemiologa (Bottarelli E.)

Thrusfield M. Veterinary epidemiology. Third edition. Blackwell Science Ltd. Oxford UK, 2005

Teaching methods

The theoretical lectures take place in a teaching room properly supplied with multimedia equipment, with the backing of powerpoint slides. The practical lectures, carried out in a properly equipped teaching lab, provide for a constant presence of the teachers and its co-operators together with the students, with introductive and explanatory discussions. Every practical training activity is carried out singly by the students and submitted to discussion with the teachers.

Assessment methods

The final examination does not only verify that students have attained the necessary knowledge and skills (both practical and intellectual) required, but also provides feedback to students and supports effective Learning.

The assessment methods are:

  • Structured examinations consists in questions aimed at verifying the knowledge and the attitude to link the different topics dealt with during the course
  • Problem-solving questions
  • Essay questions, testing understanding, analysis, synthesis and critical thinking.

The final assessment will consist in the following examinations.

Virology (module 1) and bacteriology and immunology (module 2) issues will be assessed by a written exam.

The written exam for each module (1 and 2) consists as follows:

9 true/false questions of 1 point value if correctly answered or 2 points if the response is also reasonably explained and 3 open questions that will mark 0 to 5

Epidemiology (module 3) Student assessment will be based on an oral test of the duration of 20 minutes where the student must answer at 2 questions. The test is passed if the student will get a minimum score of 18/30. The grade will be assessed as following described:

- 18-19-> preparation on a very limited number of topics covered in the course and ability to analyse only with the help of the teacher;

- 20-24 -> preparation on a limited number of topics covered in the course, autonomous analysis skills on focused questions

- 25-29 -> preparation on a large number of topics covered in the course, independent and critical analysis skills

- 30-30L -> complete preparation on the topics covered in the course, ability to autonomous analysis, criticism and transfer on the subject, with ideas for self-reflection

The final grade of the course of "Veterinary Microbiology and Epidemiology" will consist in the synthesis (weighted average) of the scores obtained in the aforementioned exams. The teacher responsible for the verbalization of the marks is prof.ssa Sara Ciulli

Teaching tools

PC video-projector, web connected PC, teaching lab,epidemiological software.

Office hours

See the website of Sara Ciulli

See the website of Caterina Lupini