News tagged with pathogens

Related topics: immune system , bacteria , immune response , infectious diseases , plants

Diseases of another kind

The drought that has the entire country in its grip is affecting more than the color of people's lawns. It may also be responsible for the proliferation of a heat-loving amoeba commonly found in warm freshwater bodies, such ...

Jul 23, 2014
popularity 5 / 5 (1) | comments 0

New study shows gut bacteria could cause type 2 diabetes

Studying gut bacteria can reveal a range of human illness. Now, new research shows that the composition of a person's intestinal bacteria could play an important role in the development of type 2 diabetes. These results, ...

Sep 26, 2012
popularity 5 / 5 (10) | comments 6 | with audio podcast

Finding a new way to manage infections

(Medical Xpress)—Waging an immunological war against a pathogen is not the body's only way to survive an infection. Sometimes tolerance, or learning to live with an invader, can be just as important. In tolerance the body ...

Apr 29, 2013
popularity 4.7 / 5 (3) | comments 0 | with audio podcast

Pathogen

A pathogen (from Greek πάθος path "suffering, passion", and γἰγνομαι (γεν-) gignomai (gen-) "I give birth to"), infectious agent, or (more commonly) germ, is a biological agent that causes disease or illness to its host. There are several substrates and pathways whereby pathogens can invade a host; the principal pathways have different episodic time frames, but soil contamination has the longest or most persistent potential for harboring a pathogen.

The body contains many natural defenses against some of the common pathogens (such as Pneumocystis) in the form of the human immune system and by some "helpful" bacteria present in the human body's normal flora. However, if the immune system or "good" bacteria is damaged in any way (such as by chemotherapy, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), or antibiotics being taken to kill other pathogens), pathogenic bacteria that were being held at bay can proliferate and cause harm to the host. Such cases are called opportunistic infection.

Some pathogens (such as the bacterium Yersinia pestis, which may have caused the Black Plague, the Variola virus, and the Maleria protozoa) have been responsible for massive numbers of casualties and have had numerous effects on afflicted groups. Of particular note in modern times is HIV, which is known to have infected several million humans globally, along with the Influenza virus. Today, while many medical advances have been made to safeguard against infection by pathogens, through the use of vaccination, antibiotics, and fungicide, pathogens continue to threaten human life. Social advances such as food safety, hygiene, and water treatment have reduced the threat from some pathogens.

Not all pathogens are negative. In entomology, pathogens are one of the "Three P's" (predators, pathogens, and parasitoids) that serve as natural or introduced biological controls to suppress arthropod pest populations.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA