WHAT IS A PATHOGEN?

By: Lauren Burk

Pathogens.

A pathogen is a microorganism that causes a disease. There are many different types of pathogens but in particular this will talk about viruses, retroviruses, RNA and DNA viruses.

Viruses

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Viruses continued

Viruses are comprised of a protein coat and a nucleic acid. They have no independent metabolism and cannot reproduce outside the host. They cause disease by disrupting the normal cell function. Viral infections are hard to treat because viruses live inside your body's cells. They are "protected" from medicines, which usually move through your bloodstream. Antibiotics do not work for viral infections. There are a few antiviral medicines available. Viruses are classified by their shape, size and genome. They can be single of double strands of DNA or RNA

Retroviruses

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Retroviruses

Retroviruses are RNA viruses that copy the RNA genome into the DNA. They then insert the DNA into the host cell genome. These viruses have long latent periods meaning they may produce no signs and symptoms for long periods of time. HIV is an example of a retrovirus.

RNA viruses

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RNA viruses

An RNA virus is a virus that has RNA as its genetic material This nucleic acid is usually single-stranded RNA, but may be double-stranded RNA. RNA viruses are stored at RNA rather than DNA. Examples of RNA viruses include rhino-virus, influenza and gastroenteritis.

DNA viruses

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DNA viruses

A DNA virus is a virus that has DNA as its genetic material and replicates using a DNA-dependent DNA polymer. The nucleic acid is usually double-stranded DNA but may also be single-stranded DNA. An example of a DNA virus is herpes.