103 episodes

This podcast might not actually kill you, but it covers so many things that can. Each episode tackles a different disease, from its history, to its biology, and finally, how scared you need to be. Ecologists and epidemiologists Erin Welsh and Erin Allmann Updyke make infectious diseases acceptable fodder for dinner party conversation and provide the perfect cocktail recipe to match

This Podcast Will Kill You Exactly Right

    • Science
    • 4.8 • 14K Ratings

This podcast might not actually kill you, but it covers so many things that can. Each episode tackles a different disease, from its history, to its biology, and finally, how scared you need to be. Ecologists and epidemiologists Erin Welsh and Erin Allmann Updyke make infectious diseases acceptable fodder for dinner party conversation and provide the perfect cocktail recipe to match

    Ep 81 Chagas disease: The Reverse Triple Discovery

    Ep 81 Chagas disease: The Reverse Triple Discovery

    A nighttime “kiss” from a bug that casts a curse on its recipient in the form of a lifelong, and possibly fatal, illness. No, this isn’t some half-remembered fairy tale. It’s the true story of Chagas disease, caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi and transmitted by many species of triatomines (aka kissing bugs). In this episode, we take you through the utterly complicated biology of Chagas disease in its acute and chronic forms, the surprising evolutionary and historical background of this parasite and the scientist for whom it’s named, and finally the grim reality that is the global status of Chagas disease today. 

    The dizzying ecological complexity and pathophysiological mystery of this disease makes it a challenge to study, and the lack of funding only compounds the issue; Chagas disease bears the dubious distinction of the most neglected of all the neglected tropical diseases. In spite of this, many people are dedicated to easing the global burden of Chagas disease, and we were delighted to interview two of these Chagas champions for this episode. Daisy Hernandez, Associate Professor at Miami University, joins us to discuss the inspiration for her recent book The Kissing Bug: A True Story of a Family, an Insect, and a Nation’s Neglect of a Deadly Disease, and Dr. Sarah Hamer, Associate Professor at Texas A&M University, delves into the ecological aspects of this disease and shares the incredible community science program that raises awareness about T. cruzi and the bugs that transmit it.

    To learn more, check out the links below:
    Daisy Hernandez: website, Twitter (@daisyhernandez), Instagram (@iamdazeher), Facebook 
    Dr. Sarah Hamer: lab website, lab Twitter (@hamer_lab), Community Science Program

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 1 hr 49 min
    Ep 80 Dysentery loves a disaster

    Ep 80 Dysentery loves a disaster

    While many of us know how deadly dysentery can be from playing countless hours of The Oregon Trail, there’s only so much that the classic game covered regarding this multifaceted disease. For instance, did you know that it can be caused by multiple pathogenic microbes? Or that it is and always has been closely associated with warfare and armies? Or that it remains one of the leading causes of death globally for children under five? In this episode all about dysentery, we pick up where The Oregon Trail left off. Tune in to hear facts about ancient toilets and a list of famous people killed by the disease and to learn how dysentery isn’t just about diarrhea and how the “bloody flux” lives up to its (horrible) colorful name.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 1 hr 19 min
    Ep 79 Hemophilia: A Hemorrhagic Disposition

    Ep 79 Hemophilia: A Hemorrhagic Disposition

    Bumps and bruises. Cuts and scrapes. Gashes and gouges. Injuries small and large are familiar to all of us, but what happens when part of our body’s innate healing ability is disrupted? What happens, for instance, when the blood just won’t stop flowing? In this episode, we explore one of the most common of these disruptions: the clotting disorder known as hemophilia. From the physiological nitty gritty on how blood clotting actually works to the long history, at times both tragic and triumphant, of the “royal disease”, we trace the story of hemophilia, ending with a hopeful look towards the future. 

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 1 hr 32 min
    Ep 78 Bartonella: Keep Calm and Carrión

    Ep 78 Bartonella: Keep Calm and Carrión

    “Let’s do Bartonella next,” we said. “It’ll be straightforward and fun,” we promised ourselves. Turns out we were half right. In this fun but not quite straightforward episode, we tackle not one, not two, but three different species of Bartonella bacteria that can cause disease in humans: Bartonella bacilliformis (Carrión’s disease), B. quintana (trench fever), B. henselae (cat scratch disease). Essentially, we’re giving you three mini-turned-maxisodes for the price of one! For each pathogen, we review its surprisingly strange biology, take a brief tour of its history, and wrap up with a look at its current status across the globe, comparing and contrasting along the way. By the end of this ride, you’ll be bursting with Bartonella trivia, in awe of dental pulp, and scratching your head about the transmission of cat scratch fever.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 1 hr 27 min
    Ep 77 Legionnaires' Disease: A Killer Mist

    Ep 77 Legionnaires' Disease: A Killer Mist

    Celebration wasn’t the only thing in the air in Philadelphia in July of 1976. Over the course of several days during the 58th Annual Convention of the American Legion, a killer mist spewed out of the air conditioning units throughout the building and into the sidewalks nearby. The result was a large outbreak of unexplained febrile pneumonia, often fatal, that would acquire the name Legionnaires’ Disease. What was causing this terrifying disease and how could it be stopped? In this episode, we walk through the massive investigation into this outbreak that would lead to the discovery of the causative agent, Legionella pneumophila, and explore the biology of this mysterious pathogen. We wrap up the episode with a look at the current status of Legionnaires’ Disease and a potentially grim forecast for its prevalence as the world slowly gets back to normal.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 1 hr 11 min
    Ep 76 Chickenpox: There's always a 'but'

    Ep 76 Chickenpox: There's always a 'but'

    Ah, chickenpox, that pesky old childhood illness. And that’s all it is, right? Just a mild, routine infection that we all used to catch until the vaccine came around? Not quite. In this episode, we learn that, when it comes to the varicella-zoster virus, not everything is as it seems. We explore the complex nature of this virus, how it can make you kinda sick and then how it can make you really, really sick. After that, we dive into the evolutionary origins of this virus and the different infections it causes (spoiler alert: shingles as a viral survival strategy?!). And finally we trace its human history from discovery to vaccine to where we stand with chickenpox and shingles today.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 1 hr 15 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
14K Ratings

14K Ratings

futurenursefisch ,

This podcast helped me pass Microbiology

I listen to podcasts while running because you know, running. I was introduced to the Erin’s via Ologies; enter TPWKY. Complete game changer on how I viewed diseases that I was interested in but didn’t love reading about in medical textbooks. I showed up to my microbiology class and by the second week was label “microbio nerd” due to being able to name those involved in the field, different kingdoms, where certain bacteria, viruses and fungi are, the shapes, gram + or - and, the list goes on. All from listening to a podcast while I subject myself to torture via cardio. If you are interested in the medical field or are in a medical major for college, go ahead and give this one a listen. BUT YOU MUST START FROM THE FIRST EPISODE.

brainyblonde ,

Dynamic Duo

The Doctors' Erin are among the best podcasters in the game. This show is a must.

slwlg ,

Very much worth listening to!

I had caught up on Sawbones and needed something to listen to on my hour long commutes. A friend suggested My Favorite Murder, so I gave it a shot. Except, when I listened to one of the episodes, it wasn’t the first, but the one the two Erin’s were doing as guests. This Podcast Will Kill You was also recommended to me, so when I saw it was from the same people I had just listened to, I gave it a shot for my next listen.

And I am very much glad I did. I am definitely one of those science nerds who cannot know enough about something, and infectious diseases and how they affect the human body is one of my top interests. I absolutely love the history and the biology being presented with each disease. Super bonus points for presenting the information in such a way that still feels human.

I just finished the first season, and that last episode on HIV really hit me. I am a queer trans woman, and while I do not know anyone directly affected my AIDS, it’s impossible to miss the impact it has had, especially the demonization and lack of support, on the community. I’m also an Anatomy and Physiology lab educator, so while I may be late to the cocktail party, I am still very much glad this podcast exists, and that both Erins spent so much time making it as amazing as it is.

Thank you. 💖

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