Our gut is permanently full of large numbers of bacteria and other organisms but serious infections relatively rarely occur due to its extraordinary immune system. Infections of these organs can, however, occur in specific situations. Specialised bacteria and parasites can damage the gut or its functions including direct invasion or toxins. The liver can be damaged by hepatitis viruses, parasites and other infections.
Common gut bacteria (Gram negative bacteria) which in their normal place inside the gut cause no serious problems occasionally bypass the body's defences and can set up serious infections including septicaemia. Public health including the sanitation movement reduced but has not eliminated transmission of these potentially dangerous infections. This lecture will consider infections that normally live inside our gut, how the body keeps them there and what happens when this fails.
Christopher Whitty CB FRCP FMedSci is Gresham Professor of Physic (the term for medicine when the post was created in 1597) at Gresham College, Professor of Public and International Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Consultant Physician at University College London Hospitals (UCLH) and the Hospital for Tropical Diseases.
Professor Whitty is also Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department of Health and Social Care and head of the National Institute for Medical Research (NIHR). He is involved in many day-to-day public health decisions for the UK, especially for infectious diseases and emergencies.
He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. He was interim Government Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of the Science and Engineering Profession and was previously Chief Scientific Adviser at the UK Department for International Development (DFID).
Professor Whitty has worked as a clinician and in public health research in the UK, Africa and Asia. He undertook his postgraduate training in epidemiology, economics and medical law.
A multidisciplinary research scientist, he is current in many areas of science and has an international reputation. Professor Whitty’s work spans the breadth of medicine, while his research has mainly focused on infectious disease and diseases of poverty in the UK, Africa and Asia. Infectious diseases are the theme for his first series of lectures as Gresham Professor of Physic.