Young Disease Detectives Learn Lesson In Preventing Infectious Disease

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Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, today launched an educational program designed to help students learn about food borne illnesses, how they’re caused and how to prevent the risk of infection.

Students in a Grade 5 Winnipeg classroom today became junior epidemiologists, or ‘disease detectives’, in a mock outbreak of a mysterious illness causing many of their schoolmates to miss school. Through interactive play and online activities, Buffet Busters invites students to search for clues and uncover the cause of the illness, how it was transmitted, and how to prevent it. In the process, students learn how safe food handling practices at home can prevent the spread of disease.

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“Creating healthy habits and practicing safe food handling starts at an early age. These students are learning an important lesson about the causes of food contamination and how to protect themselves and their families against infectious disease,” said Dr. Butler-Jones. “This initiative shows how collaboration between the federal and provincial governments, health experts and educators can lead to the creation of innovative public health tools and resources that contribute to better health for Canadians and for our communities.”

Developed to complement the Grade 5 curriculum on the maintenance of good health, Buffet Busters teaches kids how to protect themselves and others against food borne diseases.

The Buffet Busters education program includes a teachers’ guide, four animated outbreak scenarios and three classroom activities. Buffet Busters was developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory in consultation with the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, education consultants, educators and students in Manitoba.

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