The show takes brief-but-deep dives into what various diseases do to the body. Covering timely diseases such as measles and lupus and more esoteric ones such as leprosy, it examines the workings of illnesses that can harm and even kill.
Take malaria. People have been trying to eliminate the disease for millennia. But thanks to mosquitoes carrying Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes most malaria, it still infected 219 million people worldwide and killed 435,000 in 2017 alone, according to the World Health Organization.
With the help of a cell biologist from the University of California at Riverside, “Sick’s” crash course in malaria describes how it spreads from the liver to red blood cells, masking itself to escape the immune system.
Animations and clear narration act as supplements to scientific information conveyed by researchers. And at about five minutes each, the videos are short enough to keep a viewer’s attention.
It’s instructive and fascinating to hear more about diseases you may never have, such as rabies. But perhaps the most important video in the batch tackles why measles is so dangerous. It explains how it ravages its host’s immune system while hijacking the respiratory system, spreading when a person with measles sneezes or coughs.
The job of the measles virus is to find a new host, the narrator says. Scary stuff — and all too relevant given the ongoing outbreak of a preventable disease.