Pathogens are microorganisms that enter, develop, and cause illness to the body of their host. It only needs a host body to survive. They are capable of bypassing the immune system. It also uses bodily substances to exist. These microbes can spread from one host to another in various ways, depending on their type. They can transmit through the air, bodily fluids, skin contact, etc.
Features of Pathogen
The primary aim of pathogens is to exist and multiply in their host. Their target is to
- Search for a compatible body part to survive which is full of nutrients.
- Infect the host.
- Avoid or subvert the host’s natural immune responses.
- Reproduce with the help of a host’s resources.
- Enter a new host.
Different Kinds of Pathogens
Primarily there are 4 types of pathogens. These are
- Viruses: Viruses are the most common type of pathogens. It is an infectious agent that colonizes a living organism. Taking advantage of weak immunity power, it attacks host cells. Then viruses use the substances of host cells. Also, it produces more viruses. Once the replication cycle ends, they travel to new hosts. They mainly damage infected cells. This can even stay dormant for a while before replicating. All these traits define pathogenic viruses. It is the main cause of viral infections that tend to recur in the host body. Only a few antiviral medicines can kill these viruses.
- Fungi: Fungi are a group of eukaryotic organisms. They are heterotrophs. They are mostly saprophytes that absorb organic matter from dead and decaying substrates. Parasitic fungi derive nutrients from living plants and animals. They have a cell wall made up of chitin. They reproduce by vegetative, asexual, and sexual reproduction. Some of the common features of fungi are as follows: They are found in warm and humid places. Fungi are free-living parasites. They are found in soil, air, and water. Fungi are mostly filamentous. The filamentous body is called hyphae. Mycelium is the network of hyphae.
- Bacteria: Another common type of illness-causing pathogen is bacteria. It is a microscopic, unicellular organism. Just like fungi, not all bacteria cause illness. Some bacteria are beneficial for human health. For example, lactobacillus remains in curd. The bacteria that cause infection are pathogenic. Usually, bacterial illness can be treated using antibiotics.
- Parasites: This pathogenic organism survives in its host’s body and takes benefit of it. In return, it causes harm to its host. They are mainly of three types- protozoa, ectoparasites, and helminths. It can transit through several modes, including insect bites.
Pathogens Inflicted Diseases
- Viruses: Common flu, measles, herpes, COVID-19, chickenpox, HIV, AIDS, Hepatitis A B C D, etc.
- Fungi: Ringworm, vaginal yeast infection, jock itch, etc.
- Bacteria: Tuberculosis, Gonorrhoea, Lyme disease, etc.
- Parasites: Malaria, Intestinal worms, Lice, etc.