A biological agent that causes disease or illness to its host is said to be a pathogen. Infectious agent is the other common name for a pathogen. The word pathogen is also used for agents that disturb the normal functioning of an animal or a plant or a body. A pathogen can also infect any unicellular organism that is from any of the all biological kingdoms of animals. Pathogen can invade a host at any of the several substrates and pathways during normal functions.
Many natural defences are found in human body against some common pathogen in the form of the immune system and by some kind of bacteria who are called helpful bacteria and they are present in the human bodys normal flora. Some kinds of pathogen have been found to be responsible for massive casualties in forms of epidemics. Despite of medical advances that have been made to protect us from infection causing pathogen that is by the use of vaccination and antibiotics and fungicide drugs, the pathogen continue to be the monster of human life. but practices like ensuring food safety, hygiene, and water treatment have resulted in reducing the threat from some of the deadliest pathogen found around.
The physiological defence present in human body against a pathogen is the immune system which uses the help from some of the bodys normal bacteria. In case of damage to the immune system or good micro biota e.g., due to chemotherapy or by human immunodeficiency virus, or prolonged use of some antibiotics, pathogen can proliferate and cause harm to the host. Such cases are known as opportunistic infection by any pathogen.
Pathogenic viruses are mainly those of the families of adenovirus, picorna virus, Herpes virus and so many others. These pathogen viruses cause smallpox, flu, mumps, measles, chickenpox, and rubella. Most of bacteria are harmless or beneficial to our body. a few pathogen bacteria can cause infectious diseases. Tuberculosis is most common diseases of underdeveloped world and is caused by a bacterial pathogen called mycobacterium. Pathogen as bacteria also cause globally important diseases, such as pneumonia, which can be caused by bacteria such as foodborne illnesses, and infections such as tetanus, typhoid fever, diphtheria, and syphilis.
The bacterial pathogen can often be killed by antibiotic. Fungal pathogen comprises of a kingdom of microbes in animals that can cause diseases in humans, animals and plants. Serious fungal infections in humans most often occur in immune-compromised people that are vulnerable due to a weakened immune system. Special drugs called azoles are required. Other parasitic pathogen is also eukaryotic organisms, such as group Protista cause disease. One of the best known pathogen in this class is causing malaria. Prions as a pathogen are next on list. Prions are abnormal pathogen proteins whose presence causes some diseases such as mad cow disease. Animals as pathogen are disease-causing agents of wild and domestic animal species, at times including humans.
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Virulence is the tendency of a pathogen to cause damage to a hosts normal body. It evolves when the pathogen can spread from an already diseased host to a new person who is disease free before that. There are two types for that transmission, horizontal transmission and vertical transmission, former infects the same generation while in later the two or more generations are involved.
Transmission of pathogen is seen via many different routes. Most common are through air, direct or indirect skin to skin or via other inanimate object contact, sexual contact, or through body's secretions and fluids. Another common route is through the fecal-oral contact which usually occurs due to untreated sewage into a drinking water supply and when as a result those who eat or drink contaminated sources become infected. Pathogen infects and a general knowledge about them is a good healthy approach.
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