Forms Of Pathogens - part 1
Forms of pathogens transmitted by blood
Pathogens transmitted by blood denotes disease-bearing microorganisms like bacteria and viruses that are present in the blood and may result in diseases to other individuals when they come in contact with such infected blood. In addition to blood, these harmful microorganisms or pathogens are capable of passing on from one individual to another when the victims come in contact with any body fluid of the person already infected. In fact, there are several diverse types of pathogens that can be transmitted by blood or body fluid contact. The most precarious or harmful types of blood-borne pathogens include the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV).
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- Human immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) actually attacks our immune system gradually rendering incapable of functioning. And, when the immune system weakens, our body becomes vulnerable to other lethal ailments. In due course, HIV results in the development of acquire immune deficiency syndrome that it a fatal disease still with no cure in sight. This is despite the fact that even though the medical science as well as the treatment of AIDS have progressed several steps during the past few years, scientists are yet to invent any medication or therapy to cure this fatal disease transmitted by blood. However, it may be noted here that it may take several years for the HIV to develop AIDS and all these years and after an individual has developed AIDS are extremely agonizing indeed.
Similar to any other pathogens transmitted by blood, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) too is able to enter the human body through abrasions, unprotected sexual contact, open wounds, blisters, and even the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and eyes. Hence, it is particularly imperative for people in the health industry as well as the emergency responders to adopt additional precautions and protective measures while handling any type of infected blood.
- Hepatitis B virus
- While the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) attacks our immune system rendering it weak to carry out its normal functions of protecting the body from alien attacks, the hepatitis B virus contaminates as well as results in the inflammation of the liver. Like HIV, hepatitis B virus (HBV) too is transmitted by blood, precisely speaking, direct blood-to-blood contacts, and may result in acute conditions like cancer of the liver and cirrhosis. Although there is no absolute cure for hepatitis B yet, a vaccine was developed in 1982 - considered to be a major breakthrough in treating hepatitis B patients. Ever since several patients have been inoculated with this vaccine and it has proved to be effectual in saving quite a number of lives. In addition, the vaccine is also reported to have brought down the number of hepatitis B cases among people, especially children and adolescents. In fact, the complete dosage of the vaccine comprises three injections given at intervals and works by gradually fortifying the immune system against the invasion of hepatitis B virus. Majority of the adults assailed by the hepatitis B virus will recover completely provided the patients always remember to adopt adequate precautions with a view to thwart the transmission of the deadly virus.
- Hepatitis C virus
- Among all the hepatitis viruses identified so far, the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is considered to be the deadliest. The hepatitis C virus is the primary reason behind severe and chronic liver ailments that may eventually develop into cancer as well as cirrhosis of the liver. In fact, majority of the people infected by hepatitis C virus (HCV) are usually not aware that they are suffering from the deadly disease till they experience initial symptoms of liver damage. Incidentally, the symptoms of liver damage may appear several years after an individual has actually been infected by the virus. Normally, the most common way that an individual may contract this deadly virus is by coming in contact with infected blood by sharing needles already used to injected persons contaminated by the virus or when the injection needles are shared by illegal drug users.
In fact, if there are only minor abnormalities owing to infection by hepatitis C virus, the patient may not require any treatment. The physician will be able to monitor the condition of the liver only by means of follow-up blood examinations. Alternately, the doctors may also prescribe anti-viral medications to treat such patients. However, if the patient's condition turns acute owing to a severe liver damage, the patient may need liver transplant. Even after the liver transplant, a patient will be required to take anti-viral medicines, as hepatitis C (HCV) is not curable by such liver transplants.
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Forms of pathogens transmitted by food
While quite a number of bacteria are transmitted by food, the most common food-borne bacteria identified by scientists thus far include Salmonella, Campylobacter and E. coli O157:H7 as well as a collection of viruses known as calicivirus - also called Norwalk and bacteria similar to Norwalk.
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- This bacterium is commonly found in the intestines of mammals, reptiles and birds and has the aptitude to transmit to humans by means of a range of foods that are of animal origin, such as meat, poultry etc. The illness caused by this bacterium is known as salmonellosis with common symptoms like fever, abdominal spasms and/ or diarrhea. People with poor fundamental health or failing immune systems are more vulnerable to attacks by this bacterium and they face the risk of fatal infections if the virus succeeds in penetrating their bloodstream.
- Infection by these bacteria is considered the most common cause for all types of diarrhea across the globe. People infected by this bacterial pathogen experience symptoms like diarrhea, fever and abdominal spasms. These bacteria are commonly found in the intestines of birds and are present in majority of poultry meat. Consumption of inadequately cooked chicken or other food that has been infected with fluids trickling from uncooked chicken is said to be the most common cause of infection by Campylobacter.
- E. coli O157:H7
- This bacterial pathogen is found in abundance in cattle as well as other comparable animals. Usually, people develop E. coli when they consume food or water that has been infected even with the minutest amount of cow excrement. This bacterium usually causes a deadly ailment with symptoms of acute and bloody diarrhea as well as excruciating abdominal spasms. However, the patients do not experience much fever when infected by E. coli O157:H7 virus. Around three to five per cent of the patients enduring E. coli develop a problem known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) that may take place even more than a few weeks of contacting the virus. This acute complication is accompanied by profuse bleeding (hemorrhage), kidney failure as well as a short-term anemia owing to hemorrhage.
- Calicivirus or Norwalk-like virus
- Most illnesses transmitted by virus by means of food are caused by Calicivirus or Norwalk-like virus. However, the diseases caused by this virus are seldom diagnosed owing to inadequacy of laboratory tests at all places. Infection by this virus results in gastrointestinal ailments - normally with more vomiting than diarrhea. However, these problems subside and gradually disappear within two days of occurrence. While most food-borne viral pathogens are usually found in abundance in animals, Calicivirus or Norwalk-like virus is generally believed to transmit from one diseased individual to another. This virus is so easily transmitted that if kitchen workers are infected by this virus, they may contaminate while preparing a sandwich or salad without wearing gloves. It has been seen that on many occasions fishermen infected with this virus contaminate oysters while they harvest them.
Some of the ailments are sporadically transmitted by means of foods consumed by people. However, these diseases may also be spread by a number of other different ways. Pathogens that are transmitted in thus manner include hepatitis A, Shigella as well as parasites called Cryptosporidia and Giardia lamblia. In addition to these harmful microorganisms, at times, ailments like strep throat (a severe sore throat caused by hemolytic streptococci with symptoms of fever and prostration) is also transmitted by means of foods consumed.
Besides the ailments attributable to express contamination, a number of food-borne ailments also develop owing to the existence of toxins produced by a germ in the food consumed. For instance, the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus has the ability to develop in some types of foods and produce a contaminant or venom that results in acute vomiting. Similarly, when the bacterium Clostridium botulinum develops and brings into being potent paralytic venom in foods, it results in an uncommon, but lethal malady called botulism. All these toxins or contaminants have the aptitude to cause diseases even after the germs causing them no longer exist in the foods.
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In addition to the pathogens discussed above, there are other contaminates and venomous compounds that may result in diseases caused by harmful microorganisms transmitted by means of foods consumed. In fact, people may fall sick if any pesticide is unintentionally combined or put into a food or any one makes use of any poisonous substance occurring in the nature in food preparation. It may be mentioned here that every year people fall sick after eating toxic mushrooms considering them to be safe for consumption. Similarly, consumption of poisonous reef fishes also results in many people to becoming ill every year.