Important Information


8.L.1.1: Summarize the basic characteristics of viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites relating to the spread, treatment and prevention of disease.

8.L.1.2: Explain the difference between a epidemic and pandemic as it relates to the spread, treatment and the prevention of disease.

What is microbiology?

Microbiology is the study of microorganisms such as viruses, fungi, parasite and bacteria. Protozoa is also considered as a microorganism.

What is a virus?

Viruses are the smallest of the microbes and they're usually harmful to humans. Viruses are also considered to be non-living because they need a host cell in order to survive. Once inside the host the multiply and while multiplying the destroy the cell. They are also disease producing particles. Viruses are passed around by human contact, insects and water. Also insects that cause viruses to spread are called vectors. Diseases that are caused by viruses can be prevented by vaccines.

What is Bacteria?

Bacteria are single celled organisms. Some bacteria can be harmful to us, others can be completely harmful to us but then others can be very useful. They're prokaryotic, they can live with or without oxygen and in extreme condition. Bacteria reproduce rapidly and they reproduce by binary fission. It can be transmitted by direct or indirect contact like sneezing, coughing or touching surfaces that have bacteria. Sickness caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics. Bacteria are also classified by 3 different shapes: Spherical, rodlike and spiral.

What is Fungi?

Fungi are multi cellular organisms that can be both beneficial and harmful to humans. Fungi get their food by decomposing dead organic matter or by living as a parasite on the host. Fungi come in all sizes, from microscopic to very large. Some examples of fungi are mold, mushrooms and mildew. Harmful fungi are those that can cause an infection. They spread through the air in small seed like spores and these spores grow under damp conditions.

What are outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics?

They're all similar in some way because all include an outbreak of a disease. But the differences are that an outbreak is only in a small location, a epidemic is in a certain region and a pandemic is global, meaning that it is all around the world. A pandemic is the worst out of all the three. In a case of an epidemic or pandemic you would have to quarantine all the sick people and cut off all travel.

Important vocabulary words:

Outbreak: Occurrence of a disease greater than would otherwise be expected at a particular time and place.

Epidemic: An outbreak of a disease that affects many people in an area of a specific country or region.

Pandemic: An epidemic that spreads over a very large area or throughout the entire world.

Vector: An organism typically an insect that transmits disease.

Pathogen: A virus, fungi, bacteria, parasite or protozoa that can cause illness and infection.

Virus: A non-living pathogen that can change, mutate. it affects a host cell and replicates to cause disease and illness.

Protozoa: Diverse organisms that cannot be classified as animals, plants or fungi. Ex: Amoebas and algae.

Bacteria: Single celled prokaryotes that can cause disease. Multiply rapidly and form colonies.

Parasite: An organism that lives in or on another organism, called a host, taking nutrients and often harming in the process.

Fungi: A single celled or multi cellular organism that can decompose or absorb organic matter. Ex: mushrooms and yeast.

Host cell: A cell that a virus can invade, takes over and makes copies of itself.

Quarantine: A time or place of isolation in which people or animals that have been exposed to infectious or contagious diseases are placed.