Infections

An infection is the colonization of a host organism by parasite species. Infecting parasites seek to use the host’s resources to reproduce, often resulting in disease. Colloquially, infections are usually considered to be caused by microscopic organisms or microparasites like viruses, prions,bacteria, and viroids, though larger organisms like macroparasites and fungi can also infect. Hosts normally fight infections themselves via their immune system. Mammalian hosts react to infections with an innate response, often involving inflammation, followed by an adaptive response.

Bacterial and viral infections can both cause symptoms such as malaise, fever, and chills. It can be difficult to distinguish which is the cause of a specific infection. It’s important to distinguish, because viral infections cannot be cured by antibiotics. In general, viral infections are systemic. This means they involve many different parts of the body or more than one body system at the same time; i.e. a runny nose, sinus congestion, cough, body aches etc. They can be local at times as in viral conjunctivitis or “pink eye” and herpes. Only a few viral infections are painful, like herpes. The pain of viral infections is often described as itchy or burning. The classic symptoms of a bacterial infection are localized redness, heat, swelling and pain. One of the hallmarks of a bacterial infection is local pain, pain that is in a specific part of the body. For example, if a cut occurs and it is infected with bacteria, pain will occur at the site of the infection. Bacterial throat pain is often characterized by more pain on one side of the throat. An ear infection is more likely to be bacterial if the pain occurs in only one ear. A possibly infected cut that produces pus and milky-colored liquid is most likely infected.

Infection begins when an organism successfully colonizes by entering the body, growing and multiplying. Most humans are not easily infected. Those who are weak, sick, malnourished, have cancer or are diabetic have increased susceptibility to chronic or persistent infections. Individuals who have a suppressed immune system are particularly susceptible to opportunistic infections. Entrance to the host generally occurs through the mucosa in orifices like the oral cavity, nose, eyes, genitalia, anus, or open wounds. While a few organisms can grow at the initial site of entry, many migrate and cause systemic infection in different organs. Some pathogens grow within the host cells (intracellular) whereas others grow freely in bodily fluids.

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 orcommensal 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 non-pathogenic can become pathogenic given specific 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.

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.

Disease can arise if the host’s protective immune mechanisms are compromised and the organism inflicts damage on the host. Microrganisms can cause tissue damage by releasing a variety of toxins or destructive enzymes. For example, Clostridium tetani releases a toxin which can paralyze muscles, or staphylococcus releases toxins which can produce shock and sepsis. Not all infectious agents cause disease in all hosts. For example less than 5% of individuals infected with polio develop disease. On the other hand, some infectious agents are highly virulent. Theprion causing mad cow disease and Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease kills almost all animals and people that are infected.

Persistent infections occur because the body is unable to clear the organism after the initial infection. Persistent infections are characterized by the continual presence of the infectious organism often as latent infection with occasional recurrent relapses of active infection. There are some viruses that can maintain a persistent infection by infecting different cells of the body. Some viruses once acquired never leave the body. A typical example is the herpes virus which tends to hide in nerves and become reactivated when specific circumstances arise. Persistent infections cause millions of deaths globally each year. Chronic infections by parasites account for a high morbidity and mortality in many underdeveloped countries.

Nobody like to have infections and yet many people simply don’t do anything to prevent them; what people do unfortunately is reactionary by going to see their doctor to get a prescription for antibiotics. Antibiotics can wreak havoc to the digestive system thereby creating other problems. To prevent infections, be it from contact with others or because of the lack of a sterile environment during any surgical procedure, boosting of the immune system will most definitely help. A strong immune system will promote cell apoptosis and ingesting fucoidan in a suspended gel with a product named UMI created by the leader in health technology (Agel Enterprises) will aid in preventing getting any bacterial infection. Should you have a weak immune system and have a bacterial infection, avoid antibiotics because of their impact to the digestive system, and ingest fucoidan to boost your immune system and get rid of the bacterial infection in question.

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