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Community Health and Welfare- Infection- Microbe Invasion- Pathogens – Parasitic Worms/ All About Nursing

Parasite is a plant or animal which lives upon or within another living organism at whose expense it obtains some advantage without compensation. Some of these parasites can be readily seen by the unaided eye, while others are so small they cannot be identified exactly without a microscope. The smallest are the size of a pinhead, while a tapeworm can grow to a length of thirty feet.

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Community Health and Welfare- Infection- Microbe Invasion- Pathogens – Protozoa/ All About Nursing

Protozoa- these are microscopic creatures which may be fifty times larger than bacteria, but still cannot be seen without a microscope. Important disease caused by these organisms are malaria and amebic dysentery.

They are unicellular (single-cell), complex, animal-like microorganisms. They are characterized by an irregular or fluctuant shape without a cell wall, and many are motile. Protozoa can be divided into four categories: amebas, ciliates, flagellates, and sporozoa.

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Community Health and Welfare- Infection- Microbe Invasion- Pathogens – Fungi/ All About Nursing

These growths are related to mushrooms, only they are very much smaller. However, fungi are relatively large organisms compared to bacteria and viruses. There are two forms of fungi:

  • unicellular forms – yeasts
  • multicellular forms – molds – The green or white mold which forms on stale bread is a tiny fungus.

Fungi are common resident microbes. These organisms frequently inhabit the skin surface or mucous membranes and are kept at bay by intact integument, inflammatory, and immune cells. Resident bacteria also compete with the regulate growth of resident fungi. The reduction of resident bacteria, often via antibiotics, disturbs this balance and allows fungal overgrowth.

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Community Health and Welfare- Infection- Microbe Invasion- Pathogens – Viruses/ All About Nursing

Viruses: a virus is a minute microorganism too small to be seen under an ordinary microscope. It is much smaller than bacteria, so tiny that they cannot even be seen through an ordinary microscope but require a special apparatus, the electron microscope. Thus, it was not discovered until sometime later than most bacteria.

Another reason they are harder to study is that, unlike bacteria, they are extremely fussy about where they grow, normally refusing to have anything to do with laboratory “food”. With the greatest of difficulty, the scientist have succeeded in working out ways of getting them to grow anywhere except in an animal body. Fussy as they are, they are extremely potent; very small numbers can start a disease. Since 1900, many diseases, such as smallpox, common cold, poliomyelitis, yellow fever, influenza, infectious hepatitis, rabies, chicken pox, measles, mumps, and other contagious diseases, have been found to be caused by filtrable viruses.

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Community Health and Welfare- Infection- Microbe Invasion- Pathogens – Bacteria/ All About Nursing

During the 19th century, some famous scientists and health care workers including Florence Nightingale believed that filth in itself caused diseases. We now know that it is not filth and dirt in themselves that cause disease; it is the bacteria that thrive in unsanitary and unclean conditions.

Bacteria are very tiny forms of life visible only under a microscope. To give you a rough idea of their size, imagine all eight million people reduced to the size of bacteria. They would fit very comfortably into a drop of water!

When scientists had the microscope, knowledge about bacteria increased and one after another of the bacteria causing diseases were discovered and investigated. The bacillus of tuberculosis was discovered in 1882; the bacillus of diphtheria and that of tetanus in 1884. Today, most of the diseases caused by bacteria are understood.

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