26th October 2017, Great Hall, Durham Castle
For every question about a complex issue there is a simple answer, and it is wrong. So the answer is No... but. We are living ever longer. Pension funds are in crisis. Old age diseases like Alzheimer's are getting ever commoner. Why? We have seen off the great killers of infants and young adults, like measles and tuberculosis and dysentery and typhoid and diphtheria and smallpox. Syphilis and scarlet fever are but ghostly reminders of a grim past. How? By better diet, better drains, vaccines and antibiotics. But bugs have not gone away. Their big allies are our habits, and evolution. I will illustrate these things; words will not be minced.
Hugh Pennington is Emeritus Professor of Bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen. He has worked for the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments as an expert on microbiology and food safety, and was a founder member of the World Food Programme Technical Advisory Group.