Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Q&A: Ethical approaches to mitigate H5N1 bird flu

In recent months, H5N1 or HPAI (highly pathogenic avian influenza), commonly referred to as bird flu, has become a growing concern for public health authorities. Mitigation efforts, including surveillance and testing of livestock ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Preparedness for HPAI A(H5N1) virus varies across jurisdictions

Variation is seen in preparedness and response to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5N1) viruses, according to a research letter published online May 21 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Five things to know about bird flu

As a new virus takes center stage at the heart of a global outbreak, it's easy to get flashbacks of March 2020.

Immunology

How the immune system learns from harmless particles

Our lungs are bombarded by all manner of different particles every single day. While some are perfectly safe for us, others—known as pathogens—have the potential to make us ill. The immune system trains its response whenever ...

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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