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Pathogens and Health

Pathogens and Health

Pathogens are disease-causing microorganisms. These diverse microorganisms include fungi, bacteria, viruses, unicellular eukaryotes, and multicellular eukaryotes (Balloux & Van Dorp, 2017). All living organisms are affected by pathogens, such as bacteria targeted by phages (Balloux & Van Dorp, 2017). Plasmodium spp is a parasite that causes Malaria.

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Microscopy, Cultivation, and Non-Cultivation Methods

Light microscopy of thin and thick stained blood smears is the standard method for malaria diagnosis. This method involves collecting a blood sear, staining with Romanowsky stains, and examining the erythrocytes for intracellular Plasmodium spp (Shad, 2019). Malaria culture is the method used to grow Plasmodium spp in vivo. This method involves incubating erythrocytes in a culture dish at 37 °C with a plasma serum and nutrient medium (Shad, 2019). A gas mixture of carbon dioxide and Oxygen allows the parasite to grow in a cell incubator (Shad, 2019). A blood film light microscopy can then determine the number of parasites. The non-culture methods for Plasmodium spp are serology tests. These tests detect antibodies against Plasmodium using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (Moreno et al., 2019).

Plasmids in Bacterial Genetics and Genetic Engineering

Plasmids are DNA genetic elements in the bacterial cell cytoplasm (Al Doghaither & Gull, 2019). Plasmids can reproduce independently (Al Doghaither & Gull, 2019). Plasmids are utilized in genetic engineering to amply certain genes. They are used in gene therapy to transfer genes to bacterial cells to enhance the resistance to diseases or other traits. The independent replication of the plasmid in the bacteria makes it possible to produce many copies in the recombinant DNA (Al Doghaither & Gull, 2019). This allows for experimental manipulation, such as the production of insulin in large amounts and gene therapy to correct defective genes.

Human /Microbe Relationships

There are two main categories of pathogenes, obligative and facultative, which depend on their life cycle in the host. Facultative pathogenes use the host for replicative processes, but this is not the only niche they can use. They are primarily fungi and environmental bacteria that cause infections (Balloux & Van Dorp, 2017). Facultative pathogens are problematic and are involved in antimicrobial resistance. On the other hand, obligate pathogens require the host to complete their life cycle (Balloux & Van Dorp, 2017). This is their only niche. All viral pathogens are obligate since they depend on the host’s cellular machinery for reproduction. Some obligate pathogens bacteria include Treponema pallidum and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Balloux & Van Dorp, 2017).

Microbial Virulence Factors

Microbial virulence factors include many molecules produced by pathogens, which enhance their ability to evade the host’s defense systems, resulting in disease. The virulence factors include enzymes, toxins, exopolysaccharides, cell surface structures, glycoproteins, lipopolysaccharides, and capsules (Leitão, 2020). Other virulence factors include alterations in metabolic regulatory frameworks modulated by regulatory RNAs and protein sensors (Leitão, 2020). In addition, some microbial molecules can enter the host cells, manipulating their machinery, which results in infection (Leitão, 2020). Virulence factors are essential in public health. Pathogens have many virulence factors that thrive within their hosts, resulting in disease. Molecular knowledge of these factors can be necessary for developing strategies to manage infectious conditions.

Treatment and Prevention Strategies

Malaria prevention strategies include preventing mosquito bites by using repellants and mosquito nets (Talapko et al., 2019). Currently, there is no approved vaccine for Malaria. However, antimalarial medications are available for prophylaxis, especially for patients at risk of getting Malaria (Talapko et al., 2019). The same antimicrobials used for malaria prevention are used in treatment. They include quinine, artemether-lumefantrine, and proguanil (Talapko et al., 2019)


Al Doghaither, H., & Gull, M. (2019). Plasmids as genetic tools and their applications in ecology and evolution. Plasmid

Balloux, F., & Van Dorp, L. (2017). Q&A: What are pathogens, and what have they done to and for us? BMC Biology15(1).

Leitão J. H. (2020). Microbial Virulence Factors. International journal of molecular sciences, 21(15), 5320.

Moreno, Y. R., Donato, S. T., Nogueira, F., & Silva, M. S. (2019). Comparative analysis of the serological reactivity of individuals with a clinical history of Malaria using two different ELISA tests. Diagnostics9(4), 168.

Shad, A. A. (2019). Clinical microbiology made ridiculously simple: A book review. The Open Microbiology Journal13(1), 200-201.

Talapko, J., Škrlec, I., Alebić, T., Jukić, M., & Včev, A. (2019). Malaria: The Past and the Present. Microorganisms, 7(6), 179.


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Pathogens and Health

Pathogens and Health

Write an essay that analyzes “The role of any chosen pathogen in human health and disease and public health.”
Using the knowledge you have gained throughout this course, your final paper must include the following:
Appropriate microscopic, cultivation, and non-cultivation methods for the chosen pathogen
Importance of plasmids in bacterial genetics and genetic engineering
Human/microbe relationships
Analysis of the virulence factors of microorganisms (including public health importance)
Prevention and treatment strategies

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