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Encyclopedia > Infection

An infection is the detrimental colonization of a host organism by a foreign species. In an infection, the infecting organism seeks to utilize the host's resources in order to multiply (usually at the expense of the host). The infecting organism, or pathogen, interferes with the normal functioning of the host and can lead to chronic wounds, gangrene, loss of an infected limb, and even death. The host's response to infection is inflammation. Colloquially, a pathogen is usually considered a microscopic organism though the definition is broader, including bacteria, parasites, fungi, viruses, prions, and viroids. A symbiosis between parasite and host, whereby the relationship is beneficial for the former but detrimental to the latter, is characterised as parasitism. The branch of medicine that focuses on infections and pathogens is infectious disease. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Colonialism. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biodiversity. ... A pathogen or infectious agent is a biological agent that causes disease or illness to its host. ... Most wounds heal in an orderly set of stages and in a predictable amount of time; those that do not are called chronic wounds (Moreo, 2005; Thomas et al. ... Gangrene is necrosis and subsequent decay of body tissues caused by infection or thrombosis or lack of blood flow. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Inflammation is the first response of the immune system to infection or irritation and may be referred to as the Innate immune system and as healthy nor unhealthy on its own: Inflammation helps fight disease, but it comes at the cost of suspending the bodys normal immune and catabolic... A microorganism or microbe is an organism that is so small that it is microscopic (invisible to the naked eye). ... Phyla/Divisions Actinobacteria Aquificae Bacteroidetes/Chlorobi Chlamydiae/Verrucomicrobia Chloroflexi Chrysiogenetes Cyanobacteria Deferribacteres Deinococcus-Thermus Dictyoglomi Fibrobacteres/Acidobacteria Firmicutes Fusobacteria Gemmatimonadetes Nitrospirae Omnibacteria Planctomycetes Proteobacteria Spirochaetes Thermodesulfobacteria Thermomicrobia Thermotogae Bacteria (singular, bacterium) are a major group of living organisms. ... A parasite is an organism that spends a significant portion of its life in or on the living tissue of a host organism and which causes harm to the host without immediately killing it. ... Divisions Chytridiomycota Zygomycota Glomeromycota Ascomycota Basidiomycota Deuteromycota Fungi (singular fungus) are a kingdom of eukaryotic organisms. ... Groups I: dsDNA viruses II: ssDNA viruses III: dsRNA viruses IV: (+)ssRNA viruses V: (-)ssRNA viruses VI: ssRNA-RT viruses VII: dsDNA-RT viruses A virus is a microscopic particle (ranging in size from 20 - 300 nm) that can infect the cells of a biological organism. ... A prion (IPA: .[1][2] ) — short for proteinaceous infectious particle that lacks nucleic acid (by analogy to virion) — is a type of infectious agent made only of protein. ... Families Pospiviroidae Avsunviroidae Viroids are plant pathogens that consist of a short stretch (a few hundred nucleobases) of highly complementary, circular, single-stranded RNA without the protein coat that is typical for viruses. ... Common Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) in their Ritteri sea anemone (Heteractis magnifica) home. ... Mites parasitising a harvestman Parasitism is one version of symbiosis (living together), a phenomenon in which two organisms which are phylogenetically unrelated co-exist over a prolonged period of time, usually the lifetime of one of the individuals. ... medicines, see medication and pharmacology. ... This false-colored electron micrograph shows a malaria sporozoite migrating through the midgut epithelia. ...


Wound colonization refers to nonreplicating microorganisms within the wound, while in infected wounds replicating organisms exist and tissue is injured. All multicellular organisms are colonized to some degree by extrinsic organisms, and the vast majority of these exist in either a mutualistic or commensal relationship with the host. An example of the former would be the anaerobic bacteria species which colonize the mammalian colon, and an example of the latter would be the various species of staphylococcus which exist on human skin. Neither of these colonizations would be considered infections. The difference between an infection and a colonization is often only a matter of circumstance. Organisms which are normally non-pathogenic can become pathogenic under the right conditions, and even the most virulent organism requires certain circumstances to cause a compromising infection. Some colonizing bacteria, such as Corynebacteria sp. and viridans streptococci, prevent the adhesion and colonization of pathogenic bacteria and thus have a symbiotic relationship with the host, preventing infection and speeding wound healing. Superficial bullet wounds In medicine, a wound is a type of physical trauma wherein the skin is torn, cut or punctured (an open wound), or where blunt force trauma causes a contusion (a closed wound). ... Wild-type Caenorhabditis elegans hermaphrodite stained to highlight the nuclei of all cells Multicellular organisms are organisms consisting of more than one cell, and having differentiated cells that perform specialized functions. ... Ant-aphid mutualism: the aphids are protected against predators by the ants who cultivate the aphids for their secretions of honeydew, a food source. ... Common Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) in their magnificent sea anemone (Heteractis magnifica) home. ... An anaerobic organism or anaerobe is any organism that does not require oxygen for growth. ... Subclasses Allotheria* Order Multituberculata (extinct) Order Volaticotheria (extinct) Order Palaeoryctoides (extinct) Order Triconodonta (extinct) Prototheria Order Monotremata Theria Infraclass Marsupialia Infraclass Eutheria The mammals are the class of vertebrate animals characterized by the production of milk in females for the nourishment of young, from mammary glands present on most species... For the article about the punctuation symbol, see Colon (punctuation). ... Species S. aureus S. caprae S. epidermidis S. haemolyticus S. hominis S. lugdunensis S. saprophyticus S. warneri S. xylosus Staphylococcus (in Greek staphyle means bunch of grapes and coccos means granule) is a genus of gram-positive bacteria. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Epidermis (skin). ... Virulence is a term used to refer to either the relative pathogenicity or the relative ability to do damage to the host of an infectious agent. ... Species See text. ... Viridans streptococcus is a pseudo-taxonomic term for a large group of generally non-pathogenic, commensal streptococcal bacteria that are either α-hemolytic and produce a green (hence the name viridans) coloration on blood agar plates, or non haemloytic. ... Wound healing, or wound repair, is the bodys natural process of regenerating dermal and epidermal tissue. ...

The variables involved in the outcome of a host becoming inoculated by a pathogen and the ultimate outcome include:

  • the route of entry of the pathogen and the access to host regions that it gains
  • the intrinsic virulence of the particular organism
  • the quantity or load of the initial inoculant
  • the immune status of the host being colonized

As an example, the staphylococcus species present on skin remain harmless on the skin, but, when present in a normally sterile space, such as in the capsule of a joint or the peritoneum, will multiply without resistance and create a huge burden on the host. Virulence is either the relative pathogenicity or the relative ability to do damage to the host of an infectious agent. ... A scanning electron microscope image of a single neutrophil (yellow), engulfing anthrax bacteria (orange). ... Species S. aureus S. caprae S. epidermidis S. haemolyticus S. hominis S. lugdunensis S. saprophyticus S. warneri S. xylosus Staphylococcus (in Greek staphyle means bunch of grapes and coccos means granule) is a genus of gram-positive bacteria. ... An antiseptic is a substance that kills or prevents the growth and reproduction of various microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses on the external surfaces of the body. ... A joint is the location at which two or more bones make contact. ... In higher vertebrates, the peritoneum is the serous membrane that forms the lining of the abdominal cavity - it covers most of the intra-abdominal organs. ...

Occult Infection

An occult infection is medical terminology for a "hidden" infection, that is, one which presents no symptoms.

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Infection definition - Medical Dictionary definitions of popular medical terms (311 words)
Infection: The growth of a parasitic organism within the body.
For example, the normal growth of the usual bacterial flora in the intestinal tract is not usually considered an infection.
Sinus Infection - Learn about sinus infections and inflammation of the sinuses (also known as sinusitis) with information written by doctors for patients.
Ear infection, middle ear - CNN.com (1694 words)
Ear infections are among the most common illnesses of early childhood.
Most ear infections clear up on their own within a few days, and most children stop having ear infections once they reach school age.
Ear infections also can be associated with dysfunction or swelling within the eustachian tubes — the narrow passageways that connect the middle ear to the nose.
  More results at FactBites »



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