What Are Pathogens

Pathogens are a group of harmful microorganisms that cause diseases and infections on their hosts such as animals and plants. They comprise of microscopic organisms such as viruses, bacteria and fungus. They find their way to the body through various modes. Actually, the body has natural mechanisms such as the immune system which it uses to fight the pathogens. Also other helpful bacterias help counter the threat of pathogens. However, they are not good enough as pathogens damage them anyway. Pathogens are responsible for most killer diseases in world today such as malaria. Although medical advances have helped to fight the entry of pathogens in the body such as vaccinations and antibiotics, they are still a great threat to human existence. Social developments such as food safety and water treatment have also been used to control the spread of pathogens. However, it is worth noting that some pathogens are not harmful. In entomology, they are used as biological controls against various pests.

There are various types of pathogens as of today. Most notable are viral pathogens that are attributed to cause major human diseases such as chicken pox, Ebola and influenza. Bacterial pathogens are actually the largest number of pathogens known. Many bacterial pathogens are essentially harmless to humans. Only a few of them cause diseases and the common bacterial disease that is attributed to affect roughly 2 million people worldwide is tuberculosis caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Pneumonia is also caused by bacteria. Typically antibiotics are able to kill bacteria thus they are not a major threat to human.

Fungal pathogens cause many diseases among human, plants as well animals. People with weak immune systems are high vulnerable to fungal infections. They are not treated by antibiotics due to the presence of eukaryotic cells. Fungal pathogens are the causative agents of most skin and yeast infections. Other types of pathogens are not very common such as protists but also cause diseases such malaria. A good example of these pathogens is plasmodium. Prionic are the recent discovered type of pathogens that cause animal infections such as the mad cow disease.

The primary way in which pathogens are transmitted is by consumption of dirty food. When drinking water is contaminated with raw sewage, pathogens find their way into the body very easily. One of the major human pathogens is the Bacillus anthracis which causes anthrax in both humans and animals. Other human bacterial pathogens act as the causative agent of leprosy. Pathogens tend to hold on to the outside body of their host before finally find their way in. It is widely believed that the longer it survives on the body, the more dangerous it is to the potential host. Some pathogens are known to survive outside the bodies of potential hosts for a maximum of up to three years. A typical example of this is the smallpox virus. Pathogens are regarded to be causative agents of some of the most dangerous diseases and of present, millions have succumbed to pathogen infection.

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