Host invasion by microorganisms

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One of the main causes of disease is infection by microorganisms, with four types so far identified:

A fifth controversial type are Pirons, which are infectious proteins that are believed to be the cause of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and the human variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (vCJD).

All exist as either:

  • Primary pathogens (obligate): presence always corresponds with disease
  • Secondary (opportunistic): prerequisites must be fulfilled before disease occurs

Microorganisms can enter the body by three routes:

  • Contact: typically seen in dermatological infections
  • Aerosol: typically respiratory infections
  • Orofecal:typically enteric infections

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  • Murphy, K., Travers, P. and Walport, M. (2008) Janeway's Immunobiology. 7th ed. New York: Garland Science Publishing.

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