Introduction to Environmental Health Microbiology and Communicable Disease Control



Microbes contaminate our air and water. They cause infectious and communicable diseases. Much of the work in public health involves identifying these microbes and finding ways to prevent their adverse effect on society.

"Microbiology: An Introduction" provides a very brief introduction to microbiology. After taking this course, the learner will have a general understanding of cell biology and a better understanding of the five microbial groups that are of concern to the public health practitioner: bacteria, fungi, protozoa, helminths (worms), and viruses. The course may be used as either a refresher for people with backgrounds in microbiology or as a primer for public health professionals with little background in the subject.

This course is a prerequisite for "Microbiology and Communicable Disease," a module of the Basic Environmental Health Course (BEHC) required for sanitarians working in New York State.


Public health practitioners including public health nurses and those in environmental health


After completing this course, the learner will be able to:

  • Describe the basic characteristics of these live microbial groups: bacteria, fungi, protozoa, helminthes and viruses.
  • Describe the public health significance of the five microbial groups.


Originally launched September, 2004.

Estimated Time to Complete

Estimated time of 2 to 3 hours to complete.

Technical Requirements

The course is built to XHTML 1.1 specifications. A modern web browser such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox is required to view the pages.

The planners and course authors have no financial arrangements or affiliations with any commercial entities whose products, research or services may be discussed in this activity. No commercial support has been accepted for this activity.

Employed by or in New York State?

If you are employed by NYS or a local health department in NYS, we recommend that you enroll for this course through the NYS Department of Health Learning Management System (DOH LMS).