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When an infection becomes disseminated throughout the body, we call it a systemic infection . For example, infection by the varicella-zoster virus typically gains entry through a mucous membrane of the upper respiratory system. It then spreads throughout the body, resulting in the classic red skin lesions associated with chickenpox . Since these lesions are not sites of initial infection, they are signs of a systemic infection.

Sometimes a primary infection , the initial infection caused by one pathogen, can lead to a secondary infection by another pathogen. For example, the immune system of a patient with a primary infection by HIV becomes compromised, making the patient more susceptible to secondary diseases like oral thrush and others caused by opportunistic pathogens. Similarly, a primary infection by Influenzavirus damages and decreases the defense mechanisms of the lungs, making patients more susceptible to a secondary pneumonia by a bacterial pathogen like Haemophilus influenzae or Streptococcus pneumoniae . Some secondary infections can even develop as a result of treatment for a primary infection. Antibiotic therapy targeting the primary pathogen can cause collateral damage to the normal microbiota, creating an opening for opportunistic pathogens (see Case in Point: A Secondary Yeast Infection ).

A secondary yeast infection

Anita, a 36-year-old mother of three, goes to an urgent care center complaining of pelvic pressure, frequent and painful urination, abdominal cramps, and occasional blood-tinged urine. Suspecting a urinary tract infection (UTI) , the physician requests a urine sample and sends it to the lab for a urinalysis. Since it will take approximately 24 hours to get the results of the culturing, the physician immediately starts Anita on the antibiotic ciprofloxacin. The next day, the microbiology lab confirms the presence of E. coli in Anita’s urine, which is consistent with the presumptive diagnosis. However, the antimicrobial susceptibility test indicates that ciprofloxacin would not effectively treat Anita’s UTI, so the physician prescribes a different antibiotic.

After taking her antibiotics for 1 week, Anita returns to the clinic complaining that the prescription is not working. Although the painful urination has subsided, she is now experiencing vaginal itching, burning, and discharge. After a brief examination, the physician explains to Anita that the antibiotics were likely successful in killing the E. coli responsible for her UTI; however, in the process, they also wiped out many of the “good” bacteria in Anita’s normal microbiota. The new symptoms that Anita has reported are consistent with a secondary yeast infection by Candida albicans , an opportunistic fungus that normally resides in the vagina but is inhibited by the bacteria that normally reside in the same environment.

To confirm this diagnosis, a microscope slide of a direct vaginal smear is prepared from the discharge to check for the presence of yeast. A sample of the discharge accompanies this slide to the microbiology lab to determine if there has been an increase in the population of yeast causing vaginitis. After the microbiology lab confirms the diagnosis, the physician prescribes an antifungal drug for Anita to use to eliminate her secondary yeast infection.

  • Why was Candida not killed by the antibiotics prescribed for the UTI?
  • List three conditions that could lead to a secondary infection.

Transmission of disease

For a pathogen to persist, it must put itself in a position to be transmitted to a new host, leaving the infected host through a portal of exit ( [link] ). As with portals of entry, many pathogens are adapted to use a particular portal of exit. Similar to portals of entry, the most common portals of exit include the skin and the respiratory, urogenital, and gastrointestinal tracts. Coughing and sneezing can expel pathogens from the respiratory tract. A single sneeze can send thousands of virus particles into the air. Secretions and excretions can transport pathogens out of other portals of exit. Feces, urine, semen, vaginal secretions, tears, sweat, and shed skin cells can all serve as vehicles for a pathogen to leave the body. Pathogens that rely on insect vectors for transmission exit the body in the blood extracted by a biting insect. Similarly, some pathogens exit the body in blood extracted by needles.

Portals of exit: eye (tears), needle,  mammary glands (milk, secretions), placenta (transmission to fetus), vagina (secretions, blood), urethra (urine), broken skin,  broken skin (blood), skin (flakes), nose (secretions), mouth (saliva, sputum), ear (earwax), urethra (urine, semen, secretions), anus (feces).
Pathogens leave the body of an infected host through various portals of exit to infect new hosts.

Key concepts and summary

  • Koch’s postulates are used to determine whether a particular microorganism is a pathogen. Molecular Koch’s postulates are used to determine what genes contribute to a pathogen’s ability to cause disease.
  • Virulence , the degree to which a pathogen can cause disease, can be quantified by calculating either the ID 50 or LD 50 of a pathogen on a given population.
  • Primary pathogens are capable of causing pathological changes associated with disease in a healthy individual, whereas opportunistic pathogens can only cause disease when the individual is compromised by a break in protective barriers or immunosuppression.
  • Infections and disease can be caused by pathogens in the environment or microbes in an individual’s resident microbiota .
  • Infections can be classified as local , focal , or systemic depending on the extent to which the pathogen spreads in the body.
  • A secondary infection can sometimes occur after the host’s defenses or normal microbiota are compromised by a primary infection or antibiotic treatment.
  • Pathogens enter the body through portals of entry and leave through portals of exit . The stages of pathogenesis include exposure , adhesion , invasion , infection , and transmission .

Fill in the blank

A(n) __________ pathogen causes disease only when conditions are favorable for the microorganism because of transfer to an inappropriate body site or weakened immunity in an individual.

opportunistic

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The concentration of pathogen needed to kill 50% of an infected group of test animals is the __________.

LD 50

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A(n) __________ infection is a small region of infection from which a pathogen may move to another part of the body to establish a second infection.

focal

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Cilia, fimbriae, and pili are all examples of structures used by microbes for __________.

adhesion

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Questions & Answers

what are the two acids the skin produce
Caro Reply
alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy there are water soluble compounds and often use as exfoliant
Enow
what must a positive strand of an RNA virus do first
Kelsi-Ann Reply
A positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus (or (+)ssRNA virus) is a virus that uses positive sense single stranded RNA as its genetic material. Single stranded RNA viruses are classified as positive or negative depending on the sense or polarity of the RNA.
Dejene
 The positive-sense viral RNA genome can serve as messenger RNA and can be translated into protein in the host cell. Positive-sense ssRNA viruses belong to Group IV in the Baltimore classification. Positive-sense RNA viruses account for a large fraction of known viruses, including many pathogens
Dejene
such as the hepaci virus C, West nail virus, dengue virus, SARS and MERS coronaviruses, and SARS-CoV-2 as well as less clinically serious pathogens such as the rhinoviruses that cause the common cold.
Dejene
Why strong acid and alkline are not harmful to mycobacterium bacili?
Brian
What are the types of bacteria
John Reply
Do you mean the shapes or the the two different types of bacteria? Bacteria are often described in terms of their general shape. Common shapes include spherical (coccus), rod-shaped (bacillus), or curved (spirillum, spirochete, or vibrio) The two different types are gram negative or gram positive.
Melanie
what other characteristics of prokaryotes a bacteria don't have?
Brian
Prokaryotes are single-celled organisms belonging to the domains Bacteria and Archaea. Prokaryotic cells are much smaller than eukaryotic cells, have no nucelus, and lack organelles. All prokaryotic cells are encased by a cell wall. Many also have a capsule or slime layer made of polysaccharide.
Dejene
gram positive bacteria and gram negative bacteria
mubeen
Most bacteria can be broadly classified as Gram positive or Gram negative. Gram positive bacteria have cell walls composed of thick layers of peptidoglycan.cells stain purple when subjected to a Gram stain procedure. Gram negative bacteria have cell walls with a thin layer of peptidoglycan.
Dejene
all of you are amazing microbiologists
demisew
thanks demisew....
Dejene
guys what are the two acids the skin produce
Caro
what are the bacteria's involved in the decaying of food
Enow Reply
Some pathogenic bacteria, such as Clostridium perfringens and Bacillus cereus, are capable of causing spoilage.
Dejene
Corona has a gray and black cell structure ....if yes explain..if no explain
Joshua Reply
multiple questions and answers in microbiology and bio chemistry
Lakshmi Reply
is the study of a bacteria and other organisms
isir
yes..this book is about bacteria & others organisms
Hasan
biochemistry is the branch of science that dealing of chemical compounds reactions and other processes
isir
have you any question?
Hasan
yess, Why scientists not search coronavirus vaccines in short time.
demisew
they are on
Monyditchol
what are the symptoms for tuberculosis
Chiamaka
Most people infected with the bacteria that cause tuberculosis don't have symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they usually include a cough (sometimes blood-tinged), weight loss, night sweats and fever.
Dejene
symptoms tuberculosis. Fever Chills Night sweats Cough Loss of appetite Weight loss Blood in the sputum (phlegm) Loss of energy
lourdes
can corona virus transmitted from mother to her child through placenta ?
Abdul
probably
Mad
no
Oke
no,but it can through trait
Falere
mutation occur in the genome of corona virus. thats why the corona vaccines forming just difficult
Muzamil
intersted
Do
no
Esther
No
John
Yes
Suhaib
yes
Benjamin
yes coz it's spread through the soft body parts more so the openings in our bodies
Rebecca
Yes
Ayan
what is relation between fear (from covid 19 ) and immune sys ?
Abdul
because it damages the immune system by reduction the action of WBC
mike
reducing pls
mike
how is it possible for a woman to be pregnant and still See's her period
Prince Reply
we term it as discharge
Monyditchol
what is immunity
evans Reply
What is a varuis
evans
A submicroscopic infectious organism, now understood to be a non-cellular structure consisting of a core of DNA or RNA surrounded by a protein coat. It requires a living cell to replicate, and often causes disease
Ebo
A virus is a biological agent that reproduces inside the cells of living hosts. When infected by a virus, a host cell is forced to produce thousands of identical copies of the original virus at an extraordinary rate
Dejene
A virus is a microorganism which invade our bodies causing diseases due to eliciting immune responses by the body against it, can replicate using our genome inducing production of proteins helping them to establish new life inside our bodies.
What are the important of capsules
Marriam Reply
what are the roles of male sex hormones
Marriam
Testosterone is the principal sex hormone inmales and is produced in the testes (testicles). Dihydrotestosterone is a hormonein which the double bond of testosterone has been reduced by enzyrne reactions in the body. ... The testes perform two functions: They produce sperm, and they producetestoster
Dejene
Capsules in bacteria protect them from phagocytosis of eukaryotic organisms. This is what makes them virulent and harmful without antibodies.
Lewis
any one told me definition of amoebic dysentery & amoebic liver dysentery?
Mira
Amoebiasis, also known amoebic dysentery, is an infection caused by any of the amobae of the Entamoeba group. Symptoms are most common during infection by Entamoeba histolytica. Amoebiasis can be present with no, mild, or severe symptoms. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, diarrhea....
Dejene
tnx
Mira
u welcome mira
Dejene
people explain for me this words in public health.tb prevention 1:promotive 2:preventive 3:curative 4:rehabilitative
Obrian
Capsules function similarly to endospores they provide an extra layer of protection especially in acidic or basic environments. It is also a thicker membrane which can change the osmosis process and can provides resistance to antibotics depending if it is gram negative or positive.
Melanie
...As some antibotics focus on breaking down the cell wall and is not able to.
Melanie
what are the clinical classification of amoxicillin?
Rebecca
how does a autoimmune diso ders develop
Oliver Reply
simply autoimmune disease is not completely understood. There are many variations from genetically inherited to acquired by viruses like HIV. Genetically they may not be prominent until an unknown point in one's life. I am far from an expert, I am just reciting what I have learned. Take rheumatoid
Lewis
what is anatomy
Mohamed Reply
Anatomy is the study of parts of the human body
Matilda
the branch of science concerned with the bodily structure of humans, animals, and other living organisms, especially as revealed by dissection and the separation of parts.
Dejene
Describe the halden effect
Suleiman
The Haldane effect is a property of haemoglobin first described by John ScottHaldane. Oxygenation of blood in the lungs displaces carbon dioxide from hemoglobin which increases the removal of carbon dioxide. This property is the Haldane effect.
Dejene
Difference between chief cells and parietal cells in the stomach
Suleiman
 Parietal cells are the epithelialcells that secrete HCl and intrinsic factor. They are located in the gastric glands found in lining of fundus and stomach. The gastric chief cells , are cells in the stomach that release pepsinogen and chymosin.
Dejene
is the study of structure and organs located in human life
isir
listen to Matilda
Lewis
essay on microbiology and how it contribute to the pharmacy assistant programme
Tagedevi Reply
I want to know how it contribute to the pharmacy assistant programme
chidiebube
Contribute how? If you want to contribute to pharmaceutical stuff you should look for websites with blogs that relate to your interests.
Lewis
hello i want to know how it contribute to microbiology programs
Dejene
Microbiology is the study of bacteria and and organisms such as viruses, fungi, and mold. How does this apply to medicine? It applies to medicine or pharmacology because when you get sick you are infected by a pathogen and understanding how these organisms interact with each other helps you to....
Melanie
develop medicine. A lot of bacteria infections can be cured with various medicines but not all medicines work equally. It depends if your sickness is based on gram positve or negative bacteria, if its s mold or fungus or a virius. Each medicine targets a certain one.
Melanie
If you need any ideas I recommend looking up Louis Pastar who used microbiology to invent a lot of medicines and contributed greatly to microbiology and pharmaceutical.
Melanie
what is a bacterial
Eric Reply
Bacteria is a microscopic organism belonging to the kingdom prokaryotic
John
what is prokaryotic
Oliver
if you are here, read this free book, it is mostly correct, there are a few pictures that should be corrected
Lewis
thanks
Eric
A prokaryotes does not have lipid- bilayer bound organelles, they can reproduce by binary fission, they have a DNA region, most have a cell well, contains a plasmid, 70s ribosomes, high mutation rate due lack of certain DNA replication enzymes.
Eric
HIV And Coronavírus, what is the difference ? Both are Retrovirus, please , I want to know. Thank you.
Cl Reply
does it mean Corona is incurable just like the HIV for the it to be retroviral too?
Joy
The reason researchers are looking to these medicines is that the new coronavirus—like HIV, Ebola, and hepatitis C—are all RNA viruses.but covid-19 is to detect human and animal virus. hiv is only human virus do not detecte animals
Dejene
***niaid.nih.gov/diseases-conditions/coronaviruses start here, since this is what is new, then recap yourself on autoimmune diseases that are not recoverable
Lewis
what happen when virus escape the host
Hailemichael
A virus must attach to a living cell, be taken inside, manufacture its proteins and copy its genome, and find a way to escape the cell so that the virus can infect other cells. Viruses can infect only certain species of hosts and only certain cells within that host.
Dejene
what is the difference between capsule and glycocylx in relation to prokaryotes
Felix Reply
However glycocalyx exists in bacteria as either a capsule or a slime layer. Thedifference between a capsule and a slime layer is that in a capsule polysaccharides are firmly attached to the cell wall, while in aslime layer, the glycoproteins are loosely attached to the cell wall.
Dejene
Glycocalyx is composed of glycosaminoglycans, proteoglycans and other glycoproteins bearing acidic oligosaccharides and terminal sialic acids. Capsule is Composed of polysaccharide (i.e. poly: many, saccharide: sugar). Exception: The capsule of Bacillus anthracis is composed of polymerized D-glutami
assarra
Capsule is located immediately exterior to the murein (peptidoglycan) layer  of gram-positive bacteria and the outer membrane (Lipopolysaccharide layer) of gram-negative bacteria The glycocalyx, which is located on the apical surface of endothelial cells, is composed of a negatively charged network
assarra
Meu I watch at microscopic HIV
Cl
assarra is paying attention. look into taking a course is you want to truly understand what is known now
Lewis

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Source:  OpenStax, Microbiology. OpenStax CNX. Nov 01, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12087/1.4
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