Infection Definition - Health Article

Infection Definition

One speaks of an infection as a microorganism, virus, prion or parasite into a living being has penetrated and has expanded there (this may not be harmful). When the organism is causing so much damage that the normal functioning of the host is disrupted, one speaks of disease. In the worst case, an infection can lead to the death of the infected individual. The micro-organism, a pathogenic infection also called the pathogen or the pathogen called. If the germs are not multiplied by the immune system or if they have recognized and removed one does not speak of an infection but of infection. Have an infection often result in inflammation. If the pathogen spreads through the body will create antibodies the immune system. On the basis of these substances one can determine what pathogen the body is infected.

 One speaks of an infection as a microorganism Infection Definition


Infections can be distinguished in local infections (eg, local inflammations of the skin on the basis of hair follicles), regional infection (where the infection has spread over a portion of the body) and systemic infections in which the whole organism is diseased (e.g. influenza).


Pathogens may include:
  • Viruses
  • Bacteria
  • Fungi
  • Unicellular eukaryotes (such as yeasts)
  • Multicellular parasites such as (roundworms, tapeworms, scabies mites)
  • Prions
Each single-celled or multicellular organism is populated greater or lesser extent by other organisms. Mostly symbiotic or commensal relationships that cause no harm such as intestinal, skin flora.

An infection occurs when a pathogen is invasive. A toxi-infection is an infection in which the pathogens secrete toxins, even if the pathogens themselves do not penetrate into the body. Example: When a normal skin bacteria is brought to a place in the body that is normally sterile, which it can grow rampant and cause a huge burden for the host. Example: pimples, Staphylococcus aureus causes severe hair follicle infection.

In a viral infection, one usually finds an insidious course, bacterial infections the course is rather acute.


The consequences of an infection will depend on:
  • the route of infection
  • the virulence of the pathogen
  • the infection pressure (number of pathogens in the first infection)
  • the immune status of the host.


Infection may take place by direct contact, indirect contact, and there can be a commensal infection
  • Infection by direct contact can take place in various ways. For example, by:
-Shaking hands and kissing
-Sexual contact (STIs)
-From mother to unborn child
  • Infection can occur through indirect contact by:
-Talking, sneezing, coughing (hereby arise aerosols pathogens reach another host)
-Stir the sediment particles
-Contaminated materials such as linen, eating utensils, clothing and toilets
-Contaminated foods such as raw or poorly cooked meat and poultry, milk and eggs
-Contaminated drinking water
-Blood of infected people which is used for blood transfusion
-Faeces and urine of infected people
-Insect bites and insect stabbing

Commensal bacteria are microorganisms that are naturally present on or in the host, for example, the E. coli bacteria in the intestinal tract of humans. If the resistance of the host drops, for example, due to illness, or malnutrition, the micro-organism can cause an infection. This is a commensal infection.

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