Science Questions

What are the most common illnesses caused by pathogens?

Sun, 18th Mar 2012

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Valerie asked:

What are the most common illnesses and infection caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites?


Edward -   Parasites are very, very high on the list and certainly, worms at least.  There's a great quote from a textbook about nematodes and roundworms:

["In short, if all the matter in the universe except the nematodes were swept away, our world would still be dimly recognizable, and if, as disembodied spirits, we could then investigate it, we should find its mountains, hills, vales, rivers, lakes, and oceans represented by a film of nematodes. The location of towns would be decipherable, since for every massing of human beings there would be a corresponding massing of certain nematodes. Trees would still stand in ghostly rows representing our streets and highways. The location of the various plants and animals would still be decipherable, and, had we sufficient knowledge, in many cases even their species could be determined by an examination of their erstwhile nematode parasites."

"Nematodes and their relationships" Cobb, N.A; Yearbook of the United States Department of Agriculture, 1914, pages 457-490.]

They're everywhere, they're in the soil, in plants, trees, animals, humans, parasites living free.  They're incredibly ubiquitous.

Chris -   Most toddlers I think pick up things, don't they?  And what about TB Estee?  Because this is a serious problem?

Estee -  I would have to argue from the bacteriology side that 1 in 3 people in the world is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis.  That's the bacteria that causes tuberculosis and I would have to be high up there on the list of common pathogens.


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