The New Plagues is a non-biology majors, infectious disease course inspired by Laurie Garrett’s The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance (1994). More than fifteen years later, Garrett’s observations still have much to teach us. The course is taught for the general public and we usually have a delightful mixture of folks in the class. The goal of The New Plagues is to introduce basic concepts of medical ecology. Medical ecology explores how interactions between humans, microbial pathogens and the environment may result in infectious diseases. We also will explore the “political ecology” of infectious diseases. Hopefully The New Plagues will help you, your family and friends, avoid “encounters of the most unpleasant kind” with our microbial neighbors. We hope you will also gain an appreciation for how we benefit from interacting with many microbes as well.