Pathogens – UPSC Prelims

What are Pathogens?
  • A Pathogen is usually defined as a microorganism that causes or can cause disease.
  • Types of Pathogens:
    • Viruses: Viruses are made up of a piece of genetic code such as DNA or RNA, and protected by a coating of protein. Once you’re infected, viruses invade host cells within your body. They then use the components of the host cell to replicate, producing more viruses.
    • Bacteria: Bacteria are microorganisms made of a single cell. They have the ability to live in just about any environment including in and on your body. Not all bacteria cause infections. Those that can are called pathogenic bacteria. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections.
    • Fungi: Fungi can be found just about everywhere in the environment, including indoors, outdoors, and on human skin. They cause infection when they overgrow.
    • Parasites: Parasites are organisms that behave like tiny animals, living in or on a host and feeding from or at the expense of the host. Though parasitic infections are more common in tropical and subtropical regions, they can occur anywhere.
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